'Seattle Times' Reporter Wins 2009 John Chancellor Award

By: E&P Staff Seattle Times investigative reporter and four-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Ken Armstrong has been bestowed the 2009 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism for his in-depth coverage of the criminal justice system.

The yearly award honors a reporter?s accomplishments and bestows a $25,000 prize on him or her. The award will be officially presented to Armstrong at a dinner at Columbia University?s Low Library on Nov. 18.

In his 20-year journalism career, he has covered a myriad of social issues including failures in the criminal justice system and Orwellian management within the Postal Service. He has previously worked at the Chicago Tribune, where he wrote a five-part series with colleague Steve Mills on the failures of the death penalty in Illinois. The piece led then-Governor George Ryan to declare a moratorium on executions in 2000, in addition to granting full pardons for four death row inmates who had been profiled in the series.

?Armstrong?s stories on capital punishment in Illinois exposed wrongdoing and saved lives. He has consistently taken important local issues and brought them to national attention,? said Nicholas Lemann, dean of the journalism school and chair of the award?s nine-person selection committee. ?This kind of tireless reporting performs a critical public service and embodies the spirit of the John Chancellor Award.?

?Ken Armstrong is an extraordinary example of the best of our profession. His work has made a lasting impression on the communities, big and small, in which he has lived and worked,? said Seattle Times Executive Editor David Boardman. ?He writes with force about people with power and writes with sensitivity about people journalists tend to dismiss."


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