The Meyer “Mike” Berger Award

The Berger Award, named after the late New York Times reporter Meyer “Mike” Berger, is awarded to a reporter(s) for an outstanding example of in­-depth, human interest reporting.

How to Nominate

The 2018 Berger Award is open for nominations. The entry deadline is Wednesday, March 2, 2018.


The Meyer "Mike" Berger Award and its $1,500 prize is awarded for outstanding human interest reporting across platforms. Print, radio, broadcast and digital reporting are eligible for the award. All entries must have been published in the U.S. during 2017, though in the case of a series or ongoing story, work that appeared in January 2018 will be accepted. Journalists who report in a foreign language should submit copies of original stories with an English translation. No entry fee is required.

How to Nominate

ALL materials should be formatted and uploaded as PDFs. Supporting multimedia presentations can be sent as URLs. Links must remain live.

If you know a journalist who deserves to be recognized, please submit the completed nomination form and pertinent material.

To nominate a journalist, please submit the following materials:

  • A brief letter from the editor indicating the scope of the reporter's work.
  • A brief biography of the reporter.
  • Up to five articles/pieces published in 2017 that best typify the reporter’s work.

Please keep in mind:

  • A series must be designated as such by the publication when it is printed; a regular column may also be submitted as a series.
  • If material lives online, please provide direct links.
  • For all visual elements, the name of the photographer or graphic artist should be included on all entry forms.
  • Supporting material will not be returned.




Members of the faculty of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism judge the entries. The award, which consists of a certificate from Columbia and a $1,500 prize, is conferred annually at the School’s Journalism Day ceremony in May.

Berger won a 1950 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for his story on a veteran who went on a shooting spree in Camden, New Jersey, killing several residents. He then re­introduced the newspaper’s “About New York” column in the early 1950s, setting the standard for evocative and eloquent human interest reporting. Berger passed away in 1959. Louis Schweitzer, a New York industrialist who admired Berger’s work, created the Berger Award in 1960.

2017 Berger Award Winner

Columbia Journalism School faculty have chosen Eli Saslow, a staff writer for The Washington Post, as the winner of the 2017 Berger Award for outstanding human interest reporting for his series showcasing pockets of suffering in white America. 
Saslow will accept a $1,500 honorarium and is invited to speak to Columbia Journalism School students and professors at the annual Journalism Day celebration at Columbia University on May 16, 2017. 
Judges’ citation: “In 2016, Washington Post Staff Writer Eli Saslow covered the America given short shrift by much of the national press during the election year. With deep and intimate reporting in five stories, Saslow illuminates the struggle, the rage, and the despair among once middle-class whites, many of whom voted for Donald Trump. Saslow was there for the funeral of a woman in Oklahoma who drank herself to death at the age of 54, putting a face on statistics showing an increasing death rate for whites. He took readers into a pocket of West Virginia where three children lost their parents to opioids. In Indiana, Saslow documented the unraveling of a town through the story of one family devastated by the decision of a corporation to ship jobs to Mexico. His stories, as Post editor Martin Baron wrote in his nominating letter, were ‘empathetic without being exculpatory.’ Saslow is a first-rate reporter with an exacting eye for detail. His work exemplifies the ideals of Mike Berger--shoe-leather journalism that reveals and revels in the complexities of the human condition, and with prose that is original, insightful, and even poetic.
Saslow has won numerous journalism awards, including a Pulitzer Prize in 2014 for Explanatory Reporting. His first book, “Ten Letters,” was published by Doubleday in 2011. 

Berger Award judges this year: David Hajdu, Dale Maharidge, Paula Span.

Winning Work:


Past Winners

See past winners:







Ken Armstrong and T. Christian Miller

The Marshall Project and ProPublica

An Unbelievable Story of Rape

David Hajdu, Dale Maharidge and Ruth Padawer


Joanne Faryon and Brad Racino


An Impossible Choice: Deciding When a Life is No Longer Worth Living

Andie Tucher, David Hajdu and Dale Maharidge


Julia O’Malley

Anchorage Daily News

“The Things that Happen: Two Boys and Cancer”

Andie Tucher, David Hajdu and Jonathan Weiner


Sheri Fink


A series of pieces exploring the catastrophic consequences of bureaucratic, structural, and political failures during the deadly hurricane season of 2012.

David Hajdu, Michael Shapiro and Andie Tucher


John Branch

New York Times

Punched Out: The Life and Death of a Hockey Enforcer

Sheila Coronel, Andie Tucher and Dale Maharidge


Anne Barnard

New York Times

A Parish Tested

Columbia Journalism School Faculty


Joanna Connors

The Plain Dealer

"The Sheltering Sky"

Columbia Journalism School Faculty


Brendan McCarthy


Homicide 37

Columbia Journalism School Faculty


Michael Paulson

The Boston Globe

"Ma Siss’s Place: The Birth of a Church"

Columbia Journalism School Faculty


Abigail Tucker

The Baltimore Sun

2006 Reporting

Columbia Journalism School Faculty




The Berger Award is judged by Columbia Journalism School faculty.


Caroline Martinet, Program Manager, Tobenkin Award

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