By: Press Release | Society of Professional Journalists
INDIANAPOLIS — Sandra Shea, the editorial page editor for the Philadelphia Daily News, has been awarded the Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing.
With the fellowship, Shea plans to research the state of poverty in the U.S. and facilitate coverage of impoverished communities by giving poor people technology and training to help them tell their stories.
“What if we gave them a place at the table? What if we actually asked the poor to speak — about their lives, their situation, what it feels like, and what it means to be poor?” Shea wrote in her fellowship application.
Presented by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, the educational arm of the Society of Professional Journalists, the fellowship awards $75,000 each year to an outstanding editorial writer or columnist to help broaden his or her journalistic horizons and knowledge of the world. The award can be used to cover the cost of study, research and travel. The fellowship results in editorials and other writings, including books.
The judges were impressed by Shea’s passion for the topic and intrigued by her approach.
“Sandra’s plan to study the causes and manifestations of poverty has the potential to break new ground. This is a set of challenges facing society and policymakers, and millions of our fellow Americans, and her approach is sure to bring it to life,” said Todd Gillman, Washington Bureau chief of The Dallas Morning News and a former SDX president, who chaired the four-judge panel.
Shea’s application, one of a record 96, stood out, the judges said, because it combined an important topic with an innovative methodology, and because Shea is an outstanding journalist with a gift for exploring problems, highlighting solutions and advocating for those who need it.
“Sandra Shea’s proposal blends the best of PBS and the best of newspapers — putting the storytelling in the hands of the people,” said Mark Woods, a columnist for The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, Fla., who received the 2011 Pulliam fellowship and is using it to write a book about the future of national parks.
Gillman and Woods were joined on the judges’ panel by Fred Brown, a former SPJ president and longtime Denver Post columnist, and Froma Harrop, president of the Association of Opinion Journalists and a columnist at The Providence Journal.
Shea’s work focuses on city and state policy legislation. In 1990, she joined the Philadelphia Daily News, where she has been the editorial page editor since 2006. Shea will be honored for the Pulliam fellowship at the Association of Opinion Journalists Convention in Orlando on Sept. 22.
Click here to learn more about the award and see a list of previous winners. A web version of this news release is available online.
Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information on SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.