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Tim Swarens of The Indianapolis Star receives $75,000 Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing


Todd Gillman, Pulliam Editorial Fellowship Selection Chairman, (202) 661-8421, tgillman@dallasnews.com
Rachel Semple, SPJ Communications Coordinator, (317) 920-4785, rsemple@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS --- Tim Swarens, opinions editor of The Indianapolis Star, has been chosen for the 2016 Pulliam Editorial Fellowship. The $75,000 fellowship is awarded annually by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.

Swarens has written extensively on the issue of child sex trafficking in Indiana after Jared Fogle’s conviction for child sex trafficking and child pornography in 2015.

Beginning with the victims, exploiters and advocates, Swarens plans to focus on parties involved in all aspects of the child sex trade, down to the hotels and websites that have yet to take accountability for their roles in the exploitation of children. The final phase of the project focuses on legislative changes and measures to protect children, including LGBT youth and others -- the “unseen victims of the sex trade” -- by pushing for inclusion in treatment programs.

“His project is so clear and so focused. I think he’s got real potential to put a dent in child trafficking. I’m so impressed at all the work he’s done on this on his own time and his own dime already,” said Ronnie Polaneczky of the Philadelphia Daily News, the 2015 Pulliam Editorial Fellow and member of this year’s judging panel.

Swarens’ impressive body of work, including the travel and efforts he has already undertaken to illuminate the problem of trafficking, left the judges confident in his ability to put the fellowship to good use.

“Tim’s passion really comes through,” said Todd Gillman, chairman of the judging panel, Washington Bureau Chief of The Dallas Morning News and a former president of the SDX Foundation.

“This is a problem that happens everywhere in the United States and is found to a great degree elsewhere in the world,” said judge Jay Evensen, an SDX Foundation director and senior editorial columnist at the Deseret News. “It may have been here all along, but the police were treating the victims as criminals for many years. There’s this change in mindset, and Tim and his work can help facilitate that change.”

Swarens also plans to use part of the grant money for a national conference to educate others about the issues explored in his project. The conference will be webcast by the USA Today network.

Learn more about the award and see a list of previous winners here.

The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation is a public foundation dedicated to ensuring that those who carry on the tradition of a free press are prepared for the challenge. The SDX Foundation supports educational and professional needs of journalists and journalism students. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Give to the SDX Foundation.


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