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McLean Bennett Awarded 12th Annual Ann Devroy Fellowship

RELEASED: May 8, 2009

McLean Bennett
McLean Bennett

EAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire junior McLean Bennett, Kohler, has been awarded the 12th Ann Devroy Memorial Fellowship, presented annually to a UW-Eau Claire journalism student who shows exceptional promise and ability.

The fellowship includes a three-week residency at The Washington Post, a $1,400 scholarship to defray the costs of the residency and a summer internship at a Wisconsin newspaper. Bennett will work at The Post during his winter break in January 2010.

"I am thankful for the opportunities this award has provided me, and hope that I do not disappoint either those who selected me to receive it or those journalists who in the past have received the award and continue to uphold a Devroy-like integrity throughout their own careers," Bennett said. "It is an honor to be where I am today, but it is also a great responsibility."

As a senior at Kohler High School, Bennett began reporting for his hometown's then-brand-new monthly newspaper, The Kohler Villager. The Villager published his first article about a high school field trip to see the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He became a regular contributor to the paper, publishing nearly a dozen articles before starting his freshman year in college.

Since coming to UW-Eau Claire, Bennett has worked at The Spectator for five of his six semesters. He has worked as a copy editor, chief copy editor, sports editor and staff writer. He said he has been able to develop his writing and reporting skills thanks largely to the influence his coworkers have had on him.

"Reporters I have worked with have helped me to improve my reporting and writing skills, and I am grateful and very much indebted to the students who came before me at The Spectator, all who set great examples for me to follow," Bennett said.

After he graduates, Bennett plans to stay in Wisconsin — or at least in the Midwest — where he would like to work as a news or sports writer.

Ann Devroy, a 1970 graduate of UW-Eau Claire, was a White House correspondent for more than 15 years. Devroy joined The Post staff in 1985 and died of cancer in 1997 at the age of 49. Family, friends and colleagues honored her by establishing a fellowship and forum in her name at UW-Eau Claire through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

Bennett was awarded the fellowship at the Ann Devroy Memorial Forum on April 23. The forum featured Dan Balz, national political correspondent for The Washington Post. Balz, who joined the Post in 1978, has been involved in the paper's political coverage as a reporter or editor for 27 years. He has served as the paper's national editor, political editor, White House correspondent and Texas-based Southwest correspondent.

-30-

NW/JP

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