Safire, Pederson Named Pulitzer Prize Chairs

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(AP) New York Times political columnist William Safire and Rena Pederson, editor at large of The Dallas Morning News, have been elected co-chairs of the Pulitzer Prize Board, Columbia University announced Monday.

Safire and Pederson both have served as board members since 1995.

Safire, who won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1978, has been a political columnist for the Times since 1973 and writes the “On Language” column for The New York Times Magazine.

A native of New York, Safire began his career as a reporter with the now defunct New York Herald Tribune. In the late 1950s, while serving as a vice president of a New York public relations firm, he was responsible for bringing together then-Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev for their Cold-War era “kitchen debate” in Moscow. He later served as senior speechwriter for Nixon.

Safire is the author of numerous books, including four novels and a political dictionary.

Pederson has held senior posts at the Morning News since 1973. As editor at large since 2002, she writes a weekly column for the paper’s Sunday Reader section, as well as profiles and enterprise feature stories.

She previously served as a vice president and editorial page editor, supervising the staff and content of the opinion pages for 16 years. Under her leadership, the editorial team was named a finalist for the 1993 Pulitzer in editorial writing.

She is the author of two books — “What’s Next? Women Redefining Their Dreams in the Prime of Life” and “What’s Missing? The Faith Factor for Women,” which profiles contemporary American women, including Laura Bush, Diane Sawyer, Peggy Noonan and Judy Collins.

She is a graduate of Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.

The 2003 Pulitzer Prizes were announced April 8 and will be presented May 29 at Columbia. The university awards the prizes, journalism’s highest honor, on the board’s recommendation. Members of the board serve a maximum of nine years.

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