Dorothy Butler Gilliam, the first African American woman reporter at the Washington Post and a long-time educator, has won the W.M. Kiplinger Distinguished Contributions to Journalism Award from the National Press Foundation. The Kiplinger Award was created in 1983 to “honor persons who have, through their vision and leadership, strengthened American journalism and furthered the efforts to establish the highest quality in American journalism.”
Gilliam started her career at Black-owned weekly newspapers, including the Louisville Defender, the Memphis Tri-State Defender, and JET magazine, before joining the Washington Post in 1961 as a reporter on the city desk.
She served as the president of the National Association of Black Journalists from 1993 to 1995 and taught journalism at American University and Howard University in Washington, D.C.
After retiring from the Post in 2003, Gilliam served as senior research scientist at the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs and was the founding-director of Prime Movers, an inter-generational education program that brought professional journalists to public high schools.
Gilliam was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. She graduated from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She later graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism.
More about this pioneering journalist and educator may be found in her autobiography The Trailblazer: A Pioneering Journalist’s Fight to Make the Media Look More Like America (Center Street, 2019).