AP's Rukmini Callimachi wins 2011 Eugene S. Pulliam Award

March 15, 2011
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West Africa correspondent Rukmini Callimachi has won the 2011 Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Writing Award for her Sept. 1, 2010 article about Haiti's Hotel Montana.

 

Ball State University's journalism department, which administers the annual national writing competition on behalf of the sponsoring Pulliam family, made today's announcement. Callimachi will receive a plaque and the $1,500 prize, presented on behalf of the Pulliam family, at the BSU Department of Journalism's April 13 annual awards luncheon.

 

The Pulliam Award judges cited Callimachi's article as "a compelling story of an online family born out of the rubble of a Haiti hotel." In the award announcement, they praised her "meticulous, dogged research and reporting that humanized the earthquake's horror and devastation by focusing on an emblematic search and recovery mission for lost loved ones."

 

Read the entire March 15 Pulliam Award announcement below.

 

See a first-person account by Callimachi about her Haiti-Hotel Montana story headlined "Haiti Quake: Mourning on the Hotel Montana" on the AP Facebook page.


BALL STATE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF JOURNALISM

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Prof. Mark Massé
March 15, 2011 765-285-8222 • mhmasse@bsu.edu

 

 

Rukmini Callimachi (AP) Wins 2011 Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Writing Award

Award-winner to speak at 8:00 p.m. on April 13 at BSU (Cardinal Hall, Student Center)


MUNCIE, Ind. — Ball State University’s (BSU) Department of Journalism has announced that Rukmini Callimachi, West Africa correspondent with The Associated Press, won the 2011 Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Writing Award for her article “Haiti-Hotel Montana,” which was published on September 1, 2010.

 

On Wednesday, April 13, 2011, at the Ball State University Department of Journalism’s annual awards luncheon, Callimachi will be recognized with a plaque and the $1,500 prize, presented on behalf of the Pulliam family, who sponsor the annual writing award, administered by the BSU Department of Journalism. The annual national writing competition, which dates back to 1960, has a distinguished history and legacy. Three former winners of the prestigious award have later won Pulitzer Prizes.

 

Callimachi’s award-winning article is a narrative of discovery about the post-earthquake quest to recover and identify those who perished in the collapse of one of Haiti’s finest luxury hotels. The search for loved ones in the Hotel Montana became an international online phenomenon as family and friends used a Facebook page, created by siblings in Long Island, New York, looking for their missing uncle. “As the days passed and the death toll climbed, the number of members on the page grew until it reached more than 17,000 worldwide.” After several weeks, the Facebook site became a memorial “for each person lost and found.”

 

Callimachi, who has worked with The Associated Press since 2003, began reconstructing the events of the January 2010 Haitian earthquake and its aftermath upon arriving on the island in April 2010. She conducted dozens of interviews with families and friends of those who died in the Hotel Montana, with the survivors who emerged during the rescue effort, with aid workers and forensic experts, governmental officials, and with members and moderators of the Facebook site.

 

According to the Pulliam Award judges, Callimachi’s article was “a compelling story of an online family born out of the rubble of a Haiti hotel.” Judges praised the author’s meticulous, dogged research and reporting that humanized the earthquake’s horror and devastation by focusing on an emblematic search and recovery mission for lost loved ones.

 

A graduate of Dartmouth College and Oxford University, Callimachi has been West Africa correspondent, based in Senegal, since December 2006. She has also worked for The Associated Press (AP) on special assignment in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and in Portland, Oregon, as a reporter and business writer. Before joining the AP, she was a city hall reporter and a freelance journalist, writing for TIME magazine and National Public Radio. An internationally recognized narrative journalist, she has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting on child trafficking in 2009 and has won Associated Press Managing Editors Awards and story of the year honors from the Religion Newswriters Association for her reporting on Indian immigrants. She has also been an expedition leader on extensive journeys into Tibet and Nepal.

 

At 8:00 p.m. on April 13 in Cardinal Hall, the Pittenger Student Center on the BSU campus, Rukmini Callimachi will present a speech entitled “Lessons Learned” as part of the journalism department’s Professional-in-Residence series.

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Department of Journalism
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306
765-285-8200
765-285-7997 (fax)
mhmasse@bsu.edu


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