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L.A. Times writer wins $75,000 Pulliam Editorial Fellowship

For Immediate Release:


Todd Gillman, Sigma Delta Chi Foundation President, (202) 661-8421 or tgillman@spj.org

Julie Grimes, Associate Executive Director, (317) 927-8000, ext. 216 or jgrimes@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – Karin Klein, an editorial writer for the Los Angeles Times, is the 2006 recipient of the Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship for Editorial Writing presented annually by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Klein’s project will focus on the first generation of children diagnosed with ADHD as they reach young adulthood. Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the American Psychological Association’s decision to change the classification of attention deficit disorder (ADD) to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

As the “Ritalin generation” ages, it face the challenges of employment, family and societal expectations. Klein believes the story of the first ADHD generation is more than a human-interest feature or a series of policy analyses. She believes it speaks to how American culture, with its strong emphasis on conforming to social norms, reacts to differentness, and how those attitudes and responses have evolved for both better and worse.

“I am so very grateful to the Society of Professional Journalists and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation for the opportunity to pursue a project that has been of enormous interest to me. The Pulliam Fellowship will allow me to extend our understanding of a population that has in large part been quietly struggling, and to probe our own, unexplored attitudes about normalcy, differentness and isolation,” said Klein.

Klein becomes the 27th individual to receive the award. She will be recognized Sept. 16 during the 2006 National Conference of Editorial Writers Convention in Pittsburgh, Pa. As the Pulliam Fellow, Klein will receive $75,000 from the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation to conduct research on her project.

The Fellowship will enable Kline to take time away from her duties at the Times to research and focus on her project. The stipend will allow her to take college courses and travel to visit researchers, activists, individuals and various communities across the nation. As an end result, she plans to write a series of opinion pieces over the course of the year for the Los Angeles Times’ Sunday commentary section and produce a book to be published within the next 18 months.

The Eugene C. Pulliam Fellowship was first offered in 1977. It is funded by a gift 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.

“In helping select the Pulliam editorial fellowship for many years, I have continued to be gratified by the quality of both the applicants and the projects they have proposed,” said judge Paul McMasters, “But this year’s field was particularly impressive, including a Pulitzer winner, a couple of best-selling authors and a long list of amazing project proposals from editorialists working at newspapers large and small.”

McMasters, First Amendment Ombudsman at the Freedom Forum, is a former national president of SPJ and of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation and has served as a Pulliam fellowship judge for more than a decade. Other judges were Mark Trahant, editorial page editor at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer; and Jill Labbe, deputy editorial page editor at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and current president of National Conference of Editorial Writers.

“What a privilege just to read the applicants' proposals, which reflected a breadth of knowledge and passion for the subjects that bordered on intimidating,” said Labbe, “Ms. Klein’s desire to shed light on the impact of ADHD in young adults and the ripple effect throughout society promises to illuminate discussions from classrooms to boardrooms.”

Karin Klein received her bachelor’s in linguistics and psychology from Wellesley College in 1975 and attended MIT and Wesleyan University in Connecticut on an inter-college exchange program. She completed her graduate coursework in journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. Klein joined the Los Angeles Times in 1989 as an assignment editor at the now-defunct San Diego edition. For the past four years, she has been an editorial writer, with principal responsibility for writing about education, environment, religion, family and culture. Klein serves as an adjunct professor at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. where she teaches a course in opinion writing.

“It's not often that a contest entry will grab you from the first paragraph; I wanted this to be a newspaper story. I wanted to read to the conclusion and see the research that has yet to be completed because Karin Klein’s premise was so compelling,” said Trahant, “This is an important project affecting a lot of Americans -- and I’m still eager for the final product.”

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 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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