Topic: College of Communication Information and Media

March 27, 2009

A Seattle newspaper reporter will be honored April 8 by Ball State University for her article examining caregiving for family members.

Seattle Times reporter Maureen O'Hagan is the 2009 recipient of the Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Writing Award for her article "Aging father agonizes over fate of his son," part of the series "A Lifetime of Care."

The honor is part of an annual contest sponsored since 1960 by Ball State's Department of Journalism. The honor includes a $1,500 award from the Pulliam family, former owners of the Indianapolis Star and other newspapers.

O'Hagan's story examines the contemporary issue of caregiving for family members.  It describes the challenges facing an aging father in Washington state and his autistic adult son.  Because of his own declining health, the father confronts the difficult decision to institutionalize his seriously disabled child.  O'Hagan spent months documenting the family's medical, financial and emotional concerns surrounding placement of the son in a supported-living home.

On April 8, O'Hagan will be recognized at the journalism department's annual awards luncheon. O'Hagan also will speak at 8 p.m. in Pittenger Student Center's Cardinal Hall as part of the department's Professional-in-Residence series. The title of O'Hagan's presentation is "Telling True Stories: Why It Matters."