MAILED: May 19, 1998|
EAU CLAIRE -- Chris Carr had planned to hang around Eau Claire for a few months after he graduates from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in December. He hoped to work part-time at the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram and then go to Europe with his buddies for a month of traveling before looking for full-time work.Instead, Carr will spend the weeks following his graduation in The Washington Post newsroom followed by a three-month stint as a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"I kept thinking that this has got to be a dream," Carr said of learning that he is the first recipient of the Ann Devroy Memorial Scholarship. "I went from hoping to get a part-time job at the L-T to opportunities at the Post and Journal Sentinel."
Ann Devroy was a graduate of UW-Eau Claire's journalism program who went on to become The Washington Post's top White House reporter. When Devroy died last fall at the age of 49, her family, friends and Post colleagues decided to honor her by establishing a journalism scholarship at UW-Eau Claire.
Scholarship recipients receive $1,000, a three-week fellowship at The Washington Post and a three-month internship at a major daily newspaper in Wisconsin.
Carr, a senior journalism major from Eden Prairie, Minn., was introduced as the first recipient during a Forum presentation honoring Devroy. David S. Broder, a national columnist for the Post, Milton Coleman, deputy managing editor of the Post, and Mark Matthews, Devroy's husband and a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, all spoke during the May 6 forum.
"I saw a lot of what I want to be in Ann," Carr said of the stories he's read and heard about Devroy. "By getting this fellowship, I feel like it's pointing me in the right direction. She is everything that everyone who goes into this business hopes to be. I figured a good way to start trying to be like her was to give applying for this scholarship a shot."
Among Devroy's traits that he most wants to imitate was her ability to grab on to a story and not let go until she was satisfied the whole story had been told, Carr said. The fact that colleagues such as Broder and Coleman took the time to spend a day or two at UW-Eau Claire is indication of the admiration they had for Devroy, Carr said.
"You could tell the impact she made on them because it was obvious that at the drop of a hat they would have done anything anyone asked in order to be there for Ann," Carr said, noting that Coleman and Matthews spent most of the day following the forum meeting with UW-Eau Claire journalism students.
The fact that Devroy - a native of Green Bay and a graduate of UW-Eau Claire - went on to become one of the most respected and feared journalists in Washington, D.C., is something he intends to hold onto as he makes his way in the newspaper business, Carr said. If anyone tries to discourage him because his background doesn't match theirs in terms of prestigious, Carr said he intends to point to Devroy as an example of someone with a similar background who made it to the top of her profession.
While Carr is sure he wants a career in journalism, he has yet to decide if he wants to work in sports or news. He's done both at UW-Eau Claire's student newspaper the Spectator and he's been a part-time sports reporter for the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram for two years.
"Whether it's sports or news, what I really like is telling stories about people," said Carr, who will spend his summer as an intern for the Copley News Service in Chicago. "I'm a curious person; it's my instinct to be noisy about other people and their stories."
During his time at the Post, Carr said he hopes to get a feel for what it's like to work in a large metropolitan newsroom. Mostly he will be shadowing Post reporters and helping out on an as-needed basis, he said. At the Journal Sentinel, he has been told he will be doing more writing.
"I plan to come in early and stay late so I can soak it all in," Carr said of the opportunities that have come his way.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: May 19, 1998