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Government Official Who Released Pentagon Papers to Speak at Pulliam Fellowship Banquet


Contacts: Paul K. McMasters, SDX Foundation president, 703/284-3511 or pmcmasters@spj.org; Stephanie Gayle Berry, development director, 317/927-8000 ext. 213 or sberry@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — A key figure in the historic Pentagon Papers decision by the Supreme Court will be the featured speaker next week at the 2001 Eugene C. Pulliam Editorial Fellowship Banquet in Washington, D.C.

Daniel Ellsberg , a former official in both the Defense and State departments, released the top-secret history of U.S. decision-making during the Vietnam war to The New York Times and other newspapers, leading to the landmark decision in 1971.

Ellsberg will speak during the April 11 banquet at the National Press Club. The event is sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation and the National Press Club.

"We are delighted to have as our headline speaker someone who played a significant role in changing not only the course of history but the way we regard the right of Americans to acquire information of consequence," said Paul K. McMasters, president of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation and First Amendment ombudsman at the Freedom Forum in Arlington, Va. "A journalism audience will particularly appreciate Mr. Ellsberg’s observations about government secrecy, how the press covers it and how that has changed over the past three decades."

The banquet is an annual Sigma Delta Chi Foundation event that recognizes the importance of editorial writing and honors recipients of the Foundation’s Eugene C. Pulliam Editorial Fellowship.

This year’s event will be at 6:30 p.m. April 11 at The National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C. Tickets are still available.

Each year, the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation awards one $40,000 fellowship for a mid-career editorial writer at a U.S. newspaper to have time away from daily responsibilities for study and research. Guest of honor at the 2001 banquet is 2000 Fellow Maura Casey, associate editorial page editor at The Day in New London, Conn.

"Maura was selected from a fine group of applicants this year. The selection committee was most impressed by her proposed project and the experience, writing ability and enthusiasm she brings to that effort," McMasters said. "We look forward to hearing details about the project at the banquet."

To sign up for the April 11 banquet, contact Stephanie Gayle Berry, development director, at 317/927-8000 ext. 213 or sberry@spj.org. Student discounts are available.

The Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship is a Sigma Delta Chi Foundation educational program of the Society of Professional Journalists. The Society first offered the fellowship in 1977. It is funded by a grant from Mrs. Eugene C. Pulliam, honoring the memory of her husband, one of the original founders of the Society, which was founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi. Eugene C. Pulliam was the publisher of The Indianapolis Star, The Indianapolis News, The Arizona Republic and The Phoenix Gazette.

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