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Pulliam Editorial Fellowship Winner to Study Worldwide Effects of the War in Iraq


Sue Porter, president Sigma Delta Chi Foundation board of directors, 513/977-3030 or sporter@spj.org
Paul McMasters, immediate past president Sigma Delta Chi Foundation board of directors, 703/284-3511 or pmcmasters@freedomfourm.org
Micca Leppert, Sigma Delta Chi Foundation Coordinator, 317/927-8000 ext. 213 or mleppert@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – Ximena Ortiz of The Washington Times is the 2003 recipient of the Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing presented annually by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, the educational arm of the Society of Professional Journalists.

“We are pleased to award one of the most prestigious fellowships in journalism to Ximena Ortiz, a journalist of extraordinary talent and vision,” said Sue Porter, president of the SDX Foundation. “The Pulliam Fellowship will enable her to conduct much-needed independent research on the political complexities surrounding postwar Iraq.”

Ortiz, an editorial writer for The Washington Times, becomes the 24th individual to receive the award. She will be recognized Sept. 18 during the 2003 National Conference of Editorial Writers Convention in Providence, R.I. As the Pulliam fellow, Ortiz will receive $40,000 from the SDX Foundation to conduct her research.

During her fellowship, Ortiz proposes “a thorough look at the worldwide effects” of the war in Iraq. She plans to investigate important decisions that were influenced by the war and examine how policymakers expect to weigh the Iraq campaign in making future decisions. She intends to interview top officials and others in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Venezuela, Argentina, India, Pakistan and other countries.

Ortiz wrote in her proposal, “News reports and opinion pieces have already highlighted some of the geopolitical collateral damage and benefits of the war – depending on the view. Most of this analysis either depends on already existing stories or points out the significance of a couple of events. My study would be unique in its global breadth.”

As for completing the fellowship work, Ortiz said, “My plans are to conduct numerous interviews and extensive research, write a series of columns with a country or regional focus, and eventually compile all of the material into a book which will lay out the facts regarding reactions to the war, that will lead to later analyze trends, chain reactions and their wider significance.”

The Foundation chose Ortiz from among the applicants based upon her qualifications, project proposal, writing and research abilities, employer support and professional involvement.

“Ms. Ortiz was the judges’ unanimous choice for this year’s fellowship,” said Paul McMasters, former Sigma Delta Chi Foundation president and one of three current or former editorial writers who served as judges for this year’s award. “We were most impressed by the talent and achievements reflected in her credentials and the ambition and thoughtfulness reflected in her proposal.”

Other judges were Mark Trahant, editorial page editor for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer; and John Taylor editorial page editor for The News Journal in New Castle, Del., and president of the National Conference of Editorial Writers.

Ortiz has been writing editorials for the Times since 1999. She is also a former bureau chief and reporter for The Associated Press. A former White House intern for the Office of Political Affairs, Ortiz earned a bachelor of arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y.

The Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship is a Sigma Delta Chi 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 members of the Society and former publisher of The Indianapolis Star, The Indianapolis News, The Arizona Republic and The Phoenix Gazette.

Founded in 1961, the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that those who carry on the tradition of a free press are prepared for the challenge. Its goal is to support the educational programs of the Society of Professional Journalists and to serve the professional needs of journalists and students pursuing careers in journalism.

The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. The organization is the nation’s largest and most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.


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