Alumni Honor 4 Journalists for Excellence


Photograph: Murray Teigh Bloom.
Photograph: Jim Detjen.
Photograph: Harold K. Douthit.
Photograph: John L. Hulteng.


The Graduate School of Journalism's highest alumni honor will be awarded this week to four distinguished journalists: a champion of writers' rights, a leading Ohio newspaper publisher, a founder of the environmental reporting movement and a revered journalism educator.

Receiving the 1996 Columbia Journalism Alumni Association Awards in ceremonies at the University Apr. 19 will be:

Murray Teigh Bloom, Class of '38, award-winning writer and author and founder and past president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors;

Jim Detjen, Class of '78, award-winning reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, founding president of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Knight Professor of Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University;

Harold K. Douthit, Class of '52, Ohio newspaper publisher, chairman and past president of the Ohio Newspaper Association, and founder of the Ohio Coalition for Open Government and John L. Hulteng, Class of '47, former dean of the University of Oregon School of Journalism, professor at Stanford and author of leading books on journalism. (Posthumous award.)

The annual awards recognizing distinguished service to journalism will be presented at the association's spring meeting.

Murray Teigh Bloom, described in a 1993 New York Times article as "a freelancer's freelancer," is the quintessential independent journalist. A prolific writer since journalism school -- even during his service in the U.S. Army in World War II -- he is a model of industry for aspiring free-lancers. His articles have appeared in almost every major magazine and he has written several books, including Rogues to Riches, The Man Who Stole Portugal, and a novel, The Thirteenth Man, which was also made into a film. In 1948 he was an organizer of the Society of Magazine Writers, now the American Society of Journalists and Authors with a membership of more than 850. In 1994 he was the first writer named Magazine Professional of the Year by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Bloom is a 1937 graduate of Columbia College.

Jim Detjen has held the Knight Chair in Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University since 1995. Formerly a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer for 12 years, he has reported on the greenhouse effect, depletion of the ozone layer, endangered species, the Chernobyl nuclear accident, AIDS, the space program, genetic engineering and radioactive contamination among workers at Three Mile Island. He has won more than 45 state and national awards. He was named the nation's top environmental journalist by the National Association of Professional Environmental Communicators. His work was nominated eight times for a Pulitzer Prize and was a finalist three times. A native of New York State's the Hudson Valley, he reported for the Poughkeepsie Journal for four years before coming to Columbia and then reported for The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., for four years.

In 1990, he was co-founder of the Society of Environmental Journalists and served as its president for the first four years; he currently is president of the International Federation of Environmental Journalists, an organization he helped found in 1993.

Harold K. Douthit is chairman and chief executive officer of Douthit Communications, Inc., an Ohio-based company that produces 26 publications, including award-winning community newspapers, specialty newspapers and a group of real estate magazines serving the Great Lakes and Southwest regions. He has devoted his career to serving under-served suburban market and pioneered in the development of new printing technology that gave newspapers the production speed and efficiency to compete with electronic media.

His 10 award-winning weekly newspapers have been called "models of superior writing and keen coverage of local events" by the Ohio Newspaper Association. His flagship paper, The Chagrin Valley Times, won the General Excellence Award as Ohio's finest weekly newspaper five consecutive years. His own weekly column has received the association's top award for column writing. Douthit is a founder and chairman of the Ohio Coalition for Open Government, and led its efforts to bring a landmark case before Ohio's highest court requiring government agencies to make records available to the press and public.

John L. Hulteng (1921-1996), journalist, educator and author, was a legend in journalism education. A newspaperman for 10 years in the Midwest and on the East Coast, he resigned as editorial page editor of The Providence Journal and Bulletin to join the faculty of the University of Oregon at Eugene in 1955. He remained on the Oregon faculty for 22 years, serving as dean for seven of them. He was a professor at Stanford for nine years before retiring in 1986, and also served for a year as assistant director of the Communication Institute of the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii.

Hulteng was the author of seven books on journalism and journalism ethics, including textbooks used in more than 100 universities. One of his books, commissioned by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, was an ethics handbook used in newspaper offices throughout the country. It has recently been reissued in seven foreign languages. Hulteng was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard and president of the American Association of Schools and Departments of Journalism in 1966-67.

Hulteng died of cancer Mar. 9, two days after learning he had been chosen to receive the award.


Columbia University Record -- April 19, 1996 -- Vol. 21, No. 24