The American Society of Newspaper Editors selected Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen as this year's recipient of the Batten Medal for his reporting on people facing adversity.
Cullen, a reporter at the Globe for 23 years, has been a columnist since July.
"Right out of the box, Kevin's written his column with wisdom, humanity, and flair," said Brian McGrory, deputy managing editor for local news. "This award affirms what Globe readers already know: that Kevin is a terrific champion of so many ordinary people beaten down by an unfair system or forced to overcome huge obstacles in their lives."
In his career at the Globe, Cullen has been a police reporter, covered Ireland before becoming London bureau chief, and was a member of the Spotlight teams that exposed the FBI's corrupt relationship with Whitey Bulger and uncovered the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. Cullen was a Nieman fellow in 2003.
Cullen said he was pleased at the recognition for the subjects of his columns.
"It's always nice to be noticed, but this is especially gratifying," said Cullen. "Writing about people who might not necessarily have a voice or ordinary people in extraordinary situations, I think it's one of the most important things we can do in our business."
The society will republish his winning columns in the 2008 compendium Best Newspaper Writing.
He was among three finalists, including Howard Witt of the Chicago Tribune and Ruben Rosario of the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press.