The Michael Kelly Award

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Ken Armstrong & Nick Perry

CITATIONNick PerryKen Armstrong
Courage can take many forms. There’s physical courage—the willingness of journalists to put themselves in harm’s way to keep the public informed. There’s also moral courage—the commitment to truth that will alienate readers, risk advertising accounts, and jeopardize a newspaper’s standing during already precarious times. Ken Armstrong and Nick Perry of The Seattle Times displayed such courage in their four-part series “Victory and Ruins,” which exposed a community’s blind embrace of a Rose Bowl-winning University of Washington football team that coddled two dozen players who were arrested while at the university for charges including rape, robbery, and assault. Armstrong and Perry showed how it wasn’t only the athletic department and university administrators who looked the other way but also local police, prosecutors, judges, and influential alumni. As Seattle Times investigations editor James Neff wrote: “Few things ignite as much passion as football. And we knew we were lighting a fuse.”

Ken Armstrong, 46, is an investigative reporter at The Seattle Times. He previously worked at the Chicago Tribune, where he co-wrote a five-part series on capital punishment that helped prompt the Illinois governor to suspend executions and then empty Death Row. Armstrong has been a Nieman Fellow at Harvard and the McGraw Professor of Writing at Princeton. He has twice won the George Polk Award and is a four-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. After false starts in law school and the Peace Corps, Armstrong’s first job was at a small Colorado paper, where his beat was “sports and courts.” He later worked at papers in Idaho, California, Virginia, New York and Alaska. Armstrong is married to Ramona Hattendorf. They have two children, Emmett and Meghan.

Nick Perry has covered the higher-education beat at The Seattle Times for the past three years. He is a native of New Zealand, where he grew up in a family steeped in newspaper tradition—his late grandfather was a renowned cricket writer who covered the sport for 60 years. Perry began his career at The New Zealand Herald in 1998 and moved to Seattle with his American wife Amy in 2000. He has worked for the Times since 2002. Perry has won a George Polk Award and a national beat-reporting award from the Education Writers Association. He is currently working with Ken Armstrong on a book based on the “Victory and Ruins” series. Perry and his wife have two children, Henry and Lillie.

Seattle Times Victory Ruins pt.1
Seattle Times Victory Ruins pt.2
Seattle Times Victory Ruins pt.3
Seattle Times Victory Ruins pt.4

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