Public Affairs Reporting Program and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, will be honored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) as the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipient.
Best was nominated for the award by UIS Chancellor Susan Koch. The Distinguished Alumnus Award is presented to an individual who is an alumnus of a college or university that is a member of AASCU, who has achieved acclaim in his or her field, and who has made significant contribution to the public, intellectual or cultural life of the nation.
Best is currently editor of The Seattle Times. She joined the paper in 2007 and has held a number of leadership positions. It was under Best’s leadership that The Seattle Times staff earned the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism. A pioneer in digital media, Best led the paper as it followed the killing of four police officers and invited Seattle citizens to contribute tips, photos and videos, using Google Wave and other online sources, to inform the community—one of the earliest examples of use of social media during a community crisis.
Best continued to lead her team to success, receiving the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting and the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news, the industry’s highest honor, following their coverage of the fatal landslide in Oso, Wash., in March 2014.
Prior to The Seattle Times, Best held positions as assistant managing editor for Sunday and national news at The Baltimore Sun and as assistant managing editor/metro at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
The Distinguished Alumnus Award has been presented for over 40 years. Best will join a long list of past honorees, including President Lyndon Johnson, who was the first to receive the award in 1972.
The award will be presented during the association’s Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas on Tuesday, October 27, 2015.