Bowdoin Graduate Wins Chronicle Award for Young Journalists

June 29, 2009

The Chronicle has given its David W. Miller Award for Young Journalists to Steve Kolowich, a recent graduate of Bowdoin College.

The $1,000 prize was awarded to Mr. Kolowich for three articles published in The Chronicle during his spring internship here. In making its selection, the Miller committee cited Mr. Kolowich’s investigative talent, dogged and thorough reporting, and flair for writing.

The three winning articles all examined the effects of new technologies on the academic landscape. “The Fall of an Academic Cyberbully” told the story of a man who allegedly used false online identities to harass scholars of the Dead Sea Scrolls whose research he disagreed with. As the Internet increasingly becomes the avenue scholars use to disseminate their work to the public, the article observed, it becomes more difficult to ensure that academic debates remain scholarly.

“Archiving Writers’ Work in the Age of E-Mail” examined the enormous amount of digital data now available to biographers and literary scholars—such as writers’ e-mail messages, laptops, and storage systems like floppy disks that are already obsolete. The article showed how that surfeit of data is not only changing the way scholars go about their research but also transforming how libraries preserve and exhibit literary collections.

In “Alumni Try to Rewrite History on College-Newspaper Web Sites” Mr. Kolowich explored “the latest front in the battle over online identities,” and the dilemma faced by college-newspaper editors when contacted by alumni who wish to redact news articles or commentary that could now embarrass them.

Mr. Kolowich graduated in 2008 with a degree in government and legal studies from Bowdoin, where he was editor of the student newspaper, The Bowdoin Orient. He now works for National Journal Group’s Global Security Newswire.

“I really want to stay in journalism,” he said when contacted about the award. “Obviously, there’s a lot of upheaval in the industry right now, but I definitely see myself writing and reporting—or at least doing some commentary.”

The Miller award commemorates David W. Miller, a senior writer at The Chronicle, who in 2002, at the age of 35, was killed by a drunken driver.

With the award, The Chronicle seeks to honor Mr. Miller’s insistence on responsible journalism, hunger to learn about people and ideas, and talent for writing. The Chronicle also hopes to recognize future generations of reporters who show those qualities. The award is given three times per year to a recent Chronicle intern, based on three articles submitted by the candidate.