The New York Times to sponsor ASNE writing award

The Times will support the ASNE Award for online storytelling in honor of former publisher Punch Sulzberger.
The American Society of News Editors announced today that The New York Times will sponsor an ASNE writing award for online storytelling for the next five years in honor of former publisher Arthur Ochs "Punch" Sulzberger.

The Punch Sulzberger ASNE Award for Online Storytelling will recognize excellence in the use of digital tools to tell news stories. In determining a winner, judges will consider strong writing, narrative skill, engaging graphical and visual elements, and compelling audio. The annual winner of the award will receive $2,500.

"My father was a big supporter of using storytelling to build the future of journalism," said Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company and publisher of The New York Times. "I think this award for online storytelling speaks to his innovative spirit."


Punch Sulzberger is perhaps best known for his decision to publish excerpts of the Pentagon Papers, a move that earned The New York Times a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1972.


"It was a defining moment for him and, in the view of many journalists and historians, his finest," wrote Times columnist Clyde Haberman in his obituary of Mr. Sulzberger.


Mr. Sulzberger died in September 2012 at the age of 86. He served as publisher of The Times from 1963 until 1992, during which time he authorized the addition of several feature sections to the paper, a risky decision that ultimately proved extremely profitable.


"Some critics dismissed the feature sections as unworthy of a serious newspaper," wrote Haberman. "But the sections -- SportsMonday, Science Times, Living, Home and Weekend -- were an instant success, without compromising the paper's hard-core news. They were widely imitated."


The ASNE Awards, which encompass nine categories, recognize the best in print, online and mobile content. Inspired by former ASNE president Eugene Patterson and started in 1979, the contest is open to all newspapers, news services and online publications in the United States. It is one of the most prestigious journalism contests in the country, annually honoring excellent craftsmanship in journalism. 

Other ASNE writing awards include:

  • The Burl Osborne ASNE Award for Editorial Leadership, which recognizes editorial writing that makes a difference in the community. The winner receives $2,500.
  • The Batten Medal, which honors the memory of revered reporter, editor and newspaper executive James K. Batten. The winner receives $2,500.
  • The Freedom Forum/ASNE Award, which honors distinguished writing on topics that deal with diversity. It is sponsored by the Freedom Forum, and the winner receives $2,500.
  • Distinguished writing award for commentary/column writing
  • Distinguished writing award for deadline news reporting
  • Community service photojournalism award
  • Distinguished writing award for local accountability reporting
  • Distinguished writing award for nondeadline writing

A member of the United States Marine Corps, Mr. Sulzberger served in both World War II and the Korean War. He was a graduate of Columbia University, where in 1951 he earned a bachelor of arts degree in English and history. In 1963, he became the youngest publisher in the history of The New York Times at the age of 37 after the death of publisher Orvil E. Dryfoos, Punch's brother-in-law. He had three daughters, Karen, Cynthia and Cathy, and one son, Arthur Jr., who became publisher of The Times in 1992.