Chairwoman of The Board  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  The Beat
From AJR,   December 2002

Chairwoman of The Board   

The Pulitzer Prize Board elects Sandra Mims Rowe, editor of Portland's Oregonian, as its new chair.

By Kathryn S. Wenner
Kathryn S. Wenner, a former AJR associate editor, is a copy editor at the Washington Post.     


Sandra Mims Rowe, editor of Portland's Oregonian, becomes chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board, succeeding Los Angeles Times Editor John S. Carroll. "All it requires is that you try to lead or manage...the incredibly interesting and challenging conversations and observations of the members of the Pulitzer Board," Rowe says of the position, awarded by seniority. Now in her ninth and final year allowed on the board, Rowe, 54, has had to recuse herself from some past decisions--while she's been its editor, the 350,000-circulation Oregonian won one prize in 1999 and two in 2001, and has been a finalist four other times. After seven prizes were awarded this year to the New York Times, some in the journalism community suggested that adjustments be made to give small and midsize papers a better shot (see Free Press, May). Rowe thinks that would diminish the prizes' value. "It's not, 'Well, let's make sure everybody gets an award,' " she says. "We do think that small papers tend to do excellent work that in some years is going to beat the very best work...of the best largest newspaper."

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