Duke Senior Philip Kurian Wins Melcher Award for Excellence in Journalism

Kurian awarded for his in-depth article analyzing racial issues in South Africa

Duke University senior Philip Kurian has been named the 2003-04 recipient of the Melcher Family Award for Excellence in Journalism for "Journeys in South Africa," an article that reflects on his immersion in the lives of two Cape Town families.

The award will be presented Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Centennial Gala for The Chronicle, Duke's student newspaper, by Duke's DeWitt Wallace Center for Communications and Journalism.

Kurian's article, which appeared in the October 2003 issue of The Chronicle magazine "Towerview," explored in-depth issues of racial identity, analyzed the progress of apartheid reforms and compared and contrasted racism in South Africa and the United States. Kurian said he sought the experience in order "to immerse myself in a society wholly committed to the healing of its collective wounds."

"We received some excellent submissions for the Melcher Award this year, but Philip Kurian's stood out," said Duke's Associate Vice President of News and Communications David Jarmul, a selection committee member. "He wove together on-the-scene reporting with personal reflection in a compelling examination of social changes unfolding in South Africa. It's difficult to sustain this kind of narrative in a long magazine piece, but Philip pulled us in and made us care about the people he was describing."

Also to be honored is Emily Rotberg, who will receive an honorable mention for her three-part series in November 2003 in The Chronicle on the closing of North Carolina's Pillowtex textile mill. The series examined the effects of international trade policies and technological advances on the U.S. textile industry, as well as the personal toll on the lives of unemployed workers.

Duke alumnus Richard Melcher, a former Business Week writer and editor, established the Melcher Award in 2003 to recognize journalistic work by a Duke junior that is thoughtful, well documented and well presented. The inaugural winner was Tyler Rosen for his Towerview article, "Assessing Intellectualism."