Dan Barry, "About New York" columnist for TheNew York Times, has been chosen to receive the 2005 Mike Berger Award. Named for the late New York Times reporter Meyer "Mike" Berger who wrote the "About New York" column in the 1950s, the Graduate School of Journalism Award honors in-depth human interest reporting. The prize was created in 1960, by Louis Schweitzer, a New York industrialist and an admirer of Berger's writing.
Dean Nicholas Lemann will present Barry with the Berger Award along with a $1,000 honorarium on May 17 during the Journalism Day celebration.
Barry has been writing the "About New York" column for The New York Times since June 2003. He joined the Times in September 1995 and has served as City Hall bureau chief and general assignment reporter for the Metropolitan Desk. He has written extensively about city politics, police brutality and life in upstate New York, and was a major contributor to the Times' award-winning coverage of the World Trade Center disaster and its aftermath.
He shared a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for investigative reporting in a series of articles about Rhode Island's court system for The Providence Journal-Bulletin and shared a George Polk Award in 1992 while at the same publication. The American Society of Newspaper Editors also honored Barry with its 2003 Award for The New York Times' coverage of the anniversary of Sept. 11. He is the author of Pull Me Up, a personal memoir about his childhood and his battle to overcome cancer.
The award committee, members of Journalism faculty, cited examples of Barry's columns over the course of 2004. "Barry finds poetry in the story of a baby pitched from a burning building into the arms of a Wall Street janitor. He re-sculpts the shards of a gritty poet's life who is holed up as the last tenant in a Bowery flophouse. The ordinary is elevated to extraordinary, and the artistry of newspaper writing is raised to a new standard."
Past winners of the award include Jimmy Breslin, the late Helen Dudar, Matt Pacenza writing for City Limits, Jennifer Gonnerman of theVillage Voice, and Ray Sanchez of New York Newsday.