Pulliam Prize Goes to ‘Lancaster (Pa.) New Era’ Writer Janet Kelley

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By: E&P Staff

Lancaster (Pa.) New Era staffer Janet Kelley has won the 2007 Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Writing Award for her story about last October’s schoolhouse shooting of 10 Amish girls.

Her “Horror and Heroism” article was part of a three-part series called “Lost Angels” that ran in the New Era in December.

One Pulliam judge wrote that Kelley’s story is an “unflinching reconstruction of the tragic shooting” and “an example of community journalism at its finest.”

“We’re deeply honored. No Lancaster journalist has ever before received recognition of this magnitude,” said Ernest Schreiber, the newspaper’s editor, as quoted in a New Era story about the award.

He added: “We saw [Janet] going back again and again to talk to the troopers who were in the school that day. She was determined to write a story that had every detail precisely right and yet respected the privacy of the families who suffered.”

In the past, the Pulliam honor has often gone to much larger papers (such as The Wall Street Journal) than the 41,365-circulation New Era.

The award, which carries a $1,500 prize, was first presented in 1960 by Ball State University’s journalism department. In 2001, the Pulliam family (former owners of The Indianapolis Star) made a long-term funding commitment to the Indiana-based university to support the prize.

Kelley will travel to Ball State next month to accept the award and deliver a speech, “Crisis Reporting and the Art of Persuasion,” as part of the journalism department’s “Professional-in-Residence” series.

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