Paul E. Steiger, editor-in-chief, CEO and president of ProPublica, gave the Reed Sarratt Distinguished Lecture at the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication on Feb. 20, 2012, in Gerrard Hall on the UNC campus.
His talk was titled “From Mainstream Media to a Non-Profit News Startup.”
In 2008, Steiger founded ProPublica — an independent, non-profit newsroom — to produce investigative journalism at a time when many news organizations lack the resources to pursue those stories. ProPublica reporters won Pulitzer Prizes for stories that chronicled a hospital cut off by Hurricane Katrina floodwaters and that exposed questionable Wall Street practices that contributed to the nation’s economic recession.
Steiger served as the managing editor of the Wall Street Journal from 1991 to 2007. During his tenure, members of the Journal’s newsroom staff won 16 Pulitzer Prizes.
He is a member of the steering committee of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, based in Arlington, Va., which provides free legal assistance to journalists. Steiger is a trustee of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation that funds efforts to enhance journalism and the functioning of American communities. From 1999 to 2007, he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board, serving as its chairman in his final year. From 2005 to 2011, Steiger was the chairman of the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based nonprofit that advocates for press freedom around the globe.
Steiger has won awards that include the Columbia Journalism Award, the University of Missouri Honor Award for Distinguished Service in Journalism, the Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism from Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Center, the Gerald Loeb Award for lifetime achievement from the John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA, the Dean’s Medal for Distinguished Leadership from Brandeis University, the Fourth Estate Award from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the National Press Foundation’s George Beveridge Editor of the Year Award, the Decade of Excellence Award from the World Leadership Forum in London, and the American Society of News Editors Leadership Award.
Steiger worked for 15 years as a reporter, the Washington economics correspondent and the business editor for the Los Angeles Times, and for 26 years as a reporter and editor for the Wall Street Journal. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Yale University in 1964.
The Reed Sarratt Distinguished Lecture Series brings some of the best and brightest minds in journalism and communication to the University to discuss matters of importance and concern, of philosophy and principle.
For many years, Sarratt worked in Atlanta as executive director of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association (SNPA) Foundation and then of SNPA itself. Before that, he had been a newspaperman in North Carolina. A native of Charlotte and a 1937 graduate of UNC, he served as the inaugural president of the school's Journalism Alumni and Friends Association. He was inducted into the N.C. Journalism Hall of Fame in 1985.