Pulitzer winner to speak Wednesday at CMU

Tom Hallman

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist from The Oregonian will be featured in a program next week on the campus of Colorado Mesa University.

The event will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday in the University Center West Ballroom 235. It’s free and open to the public, though space is limited to roughly 80 people.

Tom Hallman Jr., a senior reporter for the Portland, Oregon-based newspaper, will discuss the impact of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism on the community, with a specific focus on a series of stories he wrote about a disfigured 14-year-old boy.

Hallman won the Pulitzer for feature writing in 2001 for a profile he wrote on Sam Lightner, a child born with a rare, disfiguring growth that covers his face. The boy elected to have life-threatening surgery in an effort to improve his appearance. Hallman built upon his series in a subsequent book, “Sam: The Boy Behind the Mask.”

Hallman has won every major writing award for journalism, including multiple American Society of Newspaper Editors awards, a Scripps Howard National Journalism Award, a National Headliner Award, and a Nixon National Writing Award. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer twice — for feature writing in 1995 and for beat reporting in 1998. Hallman has worked for the Oregonian since 1980.

Wednesday’s program is part of the Pulitzer Prize’s centennial celebration. Previous programs featuring Pulitzer winners from The Denver Post and The Gazette in Colorado Springs were held in Denver and Colorado Springs. Another program will be held next week in Fort Collins.

The centennial celebration “is a grassroots, nationwide endeavor to reinforce the journalistic, literary and cultural values represented by the Pulitzer Prizes and inspire upcoming generations to pursue them,” according to the Pulitzer board at Columbia University. Organizations were recruited to arrange programs “as an opportunity not only to celebrate the Prize’s history, but also to spark a national conversation about how we, collectively, can strengthen the values represented by the Prizes as we move into a new era.”

The Grand Junction event is sponsored by Colorado Mesa University, SpringHill Suites and The Daily Sentinel.


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