News Release from AASCU

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 2015-10-21

Contact: Jennifer Walpole (202) 478-4665

PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING JOURNALIST NAMED 2015 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD RECIPIENT

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Kathy Best, editor of The Seattle Times, will be honored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) as the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipient. The award will be presented during the association’s Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas on Tuesday, October 27.

As part of AASCU’s initiative to highlight the value of and contributions made by state colleges and universities, the Distinguished Alumnus Award is presented to an individual who is an alumnus of a college or university that is a member of AASCU, who has achieved acclaim in his or her field, and who has made significant contribution to the public, intellectual or cultural life of the nation. Best is a 1990 graduate of the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Since joining The Seattle Times in 2007, Best has held a number of leadership positions; she was named editor in 2013. Best helped lead The Seattle Times staff to the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting, which set a new bar for online news coverage by a metro newspaper. As managing editor for digital news and innovation, she and her team invited Seattle citizens to contribute tips, photos and videos -- using Google Wave, Twitter and other online tools  -- to inform the community about the manhunt for the killer of four police officers. Two years later, as managing editor for content creation, she helped lead the paper's investigative team to a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for its disclosure of the deadly consequences of Washington's reliance on methadone as a painkiller for the poor. And this year, as editor, she led the newsroom to its third Pulitzer in five years for its breaking news coverage of a landslide in Oso, Wash., that claimed 43 lives. The judges cited the Times digital and watchdog storytelling, which helped readers understand the scope of the disaster and held government officials to account for ignoring decades of warnings of the danger.

Prior to The Seattle Times, Best held positions as assistant managing editor for Sunday and national news at The Baltimore Sun and as assistant managing editor/metro at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award has been presented for over 40 years. Best will join a long list of past honorees, including President Lyndon Johnson, who was the first to receive the award in 1972.

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The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of more than 400 public colleges, universities, and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development.