By Jeanne S. Criswell, University of Indianapolis
The Cultural and Critical Studies Division is proud to announce that Jill Burcum, editorial writer at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, has won the division’s 2016 Professional Freedom and Responsibility Award. The award will be presented at the AEJMC annual conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during the CCS Members’ Meeting, at which time Burcum also will deliver a presentation on her work. The award and presentation will begin at 7 p.m., Saturday, August 6, at the Hilton Minneapolis Hotel.
This award from division members recognizes Burcum for her work in numerous areas, including American Indian issues, health care and water quality. Burcum was a 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her “Separate and Unequal” series on dilapidated Bureau of Indian Education schools, described as “well-written and well-reported editorials that documented a national shame by taking readers inside dilapidated government schools for Native Americans.” She also testified before Congress in 2015 about these schools’ poor condition. She has been an editorial writer since March 2008, joining the Editorial Board after working in the Star Tribune newsroom as an editor and reporter. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington in 1991 and started her career as a reporter for the Rochester Post-Bulletin. (Compiled from and click to read her Pulitzer finalist editorials.)
Burcum joins some 39 past recipients of the annual PF&R Award, which CCS has for more than three decades presented to individuals and organizations demonstrating dedication, courage, leadership or achievement in one or more areas of (1) free expression, (2) ethics, (3) media criticism and accountability, (4) racial, gender and cultural inclusiveness, (5) public service, and (6) equal opportunities for students. (More information on these areas is available on the AEJMC website.) Past winners of the award have included Ben Bagdikian, Molly Ivins, Noam Chomsky, Nina Totenberg, Studs Terkel, James Carey, Bill Moyers, and many others.