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Home > SPJ News > Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star receives $75,000 Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing

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Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star receives $75,000 Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing


Matthew Kent, Program Coordinator, 317-920-4788,
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-920-4785,

INDIANAPOLIS – Tim Steller, metro columnist for the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, Arizona, has been chosen for the 2019 Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing. Steller plans to spend the next year studying ways in which public opinion regarding the border and immigration policy are manipulated – by politicians and governments on both sides of the border, and by interest groups and advocates.

“It’s a refreshing take on a topic that’s already central to the 2020 elections,” said Todd Gillman, Washington Bureau Chief of The Dallas Morning News and member of the Society of Professional Journalists Foundation Board of Directors.

The $75,000 fellowship is awarded annually by the SPJ Foundation.

Steller has been covering the border since 1997 and often focuses on the topic in his thrice-weekly columns. In the last year he has documented the deployment of troops and razor wire even in areas where such measures would have little impact, and despite pushback from residents. But as he writes in his proposal, “U.S. government entities have tended to inflate the sense of crisis over migration on the border, whereas Mexican government officials have tended to minimize it.”

The judges – Gillman, Jay Evensen, senior editorial columnist for the Deseret News, and Carolyn Lumsden, opinion editor at the Hartford Courant and 2018 Pulliam Editorial Fellow – were impressed by Steller’s insights into the politics of border policy and his plans to expose and debunk hype.

“Tim Steller really opened my eyes to absurdities and exaggerations in what he calls `our federally mandated border panic.’ His proposal to show how the U.S. government is manipulating public perceptions would be a true public service,” said Lumsden.

Evensen said: “He has credibility living near the border. It couldn't be more timely.”

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

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