MAILED: June 8, 2000
When Lori Kurtzman graduates from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in December 2000 her first real-world work experience won't be as a reporter for a small-town newspaper. Instead, she will spend three weeks in The Washington Post newsroom followed by a three-month stint as a reporter for a Wisconsin daily newspaper. As the third recipient of the Ann Devroy Fellowship, Kurtzman also will receive a $1,200 scholarship.
Kurtzman, who was on her way to Montana for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research when the fellowship award winner was announced, couldn't believe the news. "I was so excited. This is a great opportunity for an aspiring journalist."
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 in 1997 at the age of 49, her family friends and Post colleagues decided to honor her by establishing a journalism scholarship at UW-Eau Claire.
Kurtzman, a senior journalism major from Circle Pines, Minn., was named as the third recipient during a Forum presentation honoring Devroy. Executive editor of The Washington Post Leonard Downie Jr., who played a key role in supervising The Post's Watergate coverage, which won the Pulitzer Prize, was the featured speaker at the April 27 forum.
"I'm looking forward to seeing how a bigger newspaper operates how they gather news, write and edit stories," Kurtzman said. "It will be a good experience for me as far as figuring out what I want to do after I graduate."
When Kurtzman came to UW-Eau Claire, she declared a journalism major, but wasn't quite sure she wanted to stick with it. "I've always liked writing and grammar, developing leads and crafting a story, but I was timid." Kurtzman says her professors did a lot to draw her out of her shell and develop her journalistic talents.
Working at The Spectator, UW-Eau Claire's student newspaper, is what got Kurtzman hooked on writing, she says. "The people I work with are so dedicated and driven I guess it's contagious."
While Kurtzman is sure she wants a career in journalism, she has yet to decide what type of reporting she wants to do and for what size newspaper. "I love a two-hour deadline and the constant grind," says Kurtzman, who is a self-proclaimed procrastinator. "I also like the idea that journalists are there to help people, to expose wrongs and to generally keep people informed of what's going on in the world."
Kurtzman will serve as editor of The Spectator, during the fall 2000 semester. Prior to that, she was a chief copy editor, news editor and reporter for the paper. This summer Kurtzman is completing a 10-week internship as an online editor at the Indianapolis Star.
During her time at The Post, Kurtzman said she hopes to get a feel for what it's like to work for a large metropolitan newspaper. "I'm not sure what to expect. I think it could be a little intimidating at first, Kurtzman said, noting that she's never been to Washington D.C. or the East Coast. "I'm excited, though. I know it will be an amazing experience, and one that will probably exceed all my expectations."
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: June 13, 2000