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Jesse Wegman of The New York Times receives $75,000 Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing


Lou Harry, SPJ Manager of Publications and Awards, lharry@hq.spj.org
Kim Tsuyuki, SPJ Communications Coordinator, ktsuyuki@hq.spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – Jesse Wegman, a member of The New York Times editorial board, has been chosen for the 2023 Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing.

Wegman intends to retrace parts of the route taken by French nobleman Alexis de Tocqueville in the 1830s – plus newer regions of the country – to “learn what’s changed over the decades, and what hasn’t.” The fellowship will provide the resources and flexibility for him to do that.

“I want to see for myself what the culture of democracy in America looks like in the early 21st century,” Wegman said.

The $75,000 fellowship is awarded by the Society of Professional Journalists Foundation.

“Reporters have always traveled the nation’s byways to take the pulse of the people. Generations of freshman political science majors have looked to de Tocqueville for insight,” said Todd Gillman, Washington bureau chief of The Dallas Morning News and chair of the judging panel. “Jesse is uniquely prepared to offer an updated version. He’s thought deeply about lessons from early American history and about the current climate.”

Wegman joined the Times editorial board in 2013. His first book, published in 2020, is titled “Let The People Pick The President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College.” He’s working on a biography of founding father James Wilson, who played a key role in drafting the Constitution and later served on the Supreme Court.

This year’s judges were SPJ Foundation Board of Directors Gillman and Jay Evensen, opinion editor for the Deseret News, and Faye Flam, a science columnist for Bloomberg Opinion and 2020 Pulliam Editorial Fellow.

“Jesse Wegman has proposed a unique and interesting way to bring an historical lens to today’s divided America, leading up to the 2024 elections,” Evensen said. “I am intrigued by his intention to retrace the steps of Alexis de Tocqueville to bring clarity to how today’s diverse and often splintered Americans can coexist peacefully, and I am encouraged by his optimism."

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

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