Best in Class
Thousands of journalists across the globe called Kent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) home while they studied their craft. Fourteen of those journalists have been recognized as winners of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, which is celebrating its centennial in 2017.
The Pulitzer Prize is awarded to writers who have produced the highest quality work in their field. The JMC alumni who have earned this distinction include:
- Albert Fitzpatrick, '56; Lacy McCrary, '60; Ron Clark, '65 (deceased); Jeff Sallot '70; and Paul Tople, '70, as part of the Akron Beacon Journal team that won a 1971 prize in the news reporting category for coverage of May 4, 1970 events at Kent State.
- Jim Toms, '67; Paul Tople, '70; and Sue Zake, '11, as part of the Akron Beacon Journal team that won a 1987 prize in the news reporting category for coverage of the attempted hostile takeover of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron.
- Jim Toms, '67; Paul Tople, '70; Chuck Ayers, '71; and Sue Zake, '11, as well as retired JMC advisor Bob Springer, as part of the Akron Beacon Journal team that won a 1994 prize in the public service category for coverage of race issues.
- John Filo, '72, as a student photojournalist, who won an individual award in 1971 in the spot news category for his famous photograph of Mary Vecchio taken on May 4, 1970 at Kent State.
- J. Ross Baughman, '75, as an Associated Press (AP) photographer, who won an individual prize in 1978 in the feature photography category for coverage of the war in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
- Lynne Sladky, '78, as a photographer on the AP team that won a 1993 prize in the feature photography category for coverage of the 1992 Presidential campaign.
- Connie Schultz, '79, as a Plain Dealer columnist, who won a 2005 individual award in the commentary category for columns that gave voice to the underprivileged. Schultz also was a 2003 finalist in the feature writing category for a story about a man wrongly convicted of rape.
- Sam Roe, '83, as part of a team of Chicago Tribune investigative reporters awarded the prize in 2008 for a comprehensive look at the safety of children's toys and products. Roe was a Pulitzer finalist in 2000, 2011 and 2013 for investigative reporting.
- Paul Fresty, '89, as graphics editor of the New Orleans Times Picayune, when the paper won a prize in 1997 for its series, "Oceans of Trouble," a comprehensive look at the environmental, ecological and economic threats to the world's fishing industry.
- Sue Zake, '11, as part of the Biloxi Sun Herald team that was awarded the prize in 2006 in the public service category for public service for Hurricane Katrina coverage.
Two of these alumni are currently training students in JMC to produce Pulitzer-level stories. Sue Zake is an assistant professor who teaches courses in reporting public policy, web programming and multimedia journalism, big data, media ethics and storytelling across platforms. Connie Schultz was named a professional-in-residence in the College of Communication and Information, and she instructs students in writing across platforms, feature writing and media ethics.