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Corinne Ruff, a 2015 alumna of the University of Illinois College of Media, has won the 2016 David W. Miller Award for Young Journalists, which The Chronicle confers on one of its interns from the preceding year.

The award, which carries a $3,000 prize, is based on three articles submitted by each intern and judged by a committee of Chronicle editors and reporters. This year, members of the Miller Award Committee agreed, was a particularly "tough vote," as several interns submitted strong portfolios of their work.

But the members said Ms. Ruff stood out for her ability to "frame issues strongly" in stories that had "really good characters." She was also praised for her versatility in the range of articles she wrote, with one panel member describing her portfolio as consisting of "interesting and not obvious topics."

Ms. Ruff won the award on the strength of the following work. Her first article described the plight of college librarians who found themselves caught between rapacious journal pirates and the publishers of journals that are seeking to crack down on piracy. Even though many librarians are advocates of open access and want to expand access to information, their journal contracts oblige them to help the publishers.

The second article concerned the mental and academic costs suffered by student protesters, who often struggle to reconcile the time they spend on their activism and on their coursework. The story, which Ms. Ruff conceived, was timely amid a wave of student protest that has not ebbed.

Her third article was a feature on how historians of slavery are finding fruitful ground for research on their own campuses. Ms. Ruff said this deeply reported article was founded on her fortunate contact with a source who referred her to other sources, as well as to her luck in finding a compelling story to tell.

Ms. Ruff majored in journalism and French at Illinois, where she wrote for The Daily Illini and served as its news editor and managing editor. She was an intern at The Chronicle last spring.

She now works as associate editor of Retail Dive, one of a dozen online services that are part of a start-up company called Industry Dive and based in Washington. The services, which also have email and webinar components, each cover a different industry. She said she hoped to build a career doing investigative reporting in business journalism.

The award, which The Chronicle first presented in 2003, honors David W. Miller, a senior writer at The Chronicle who was killed by a drunken driver in 2002 on his way home from a reporting trip. Mr. Miller, who was 35, left a widow and two small children.

The award seeks to uphold Mr. Miller’s high journalistic standards, zeal for fair and responsible reporting, passion for ideas and people and for explaining them to readers, and talent for writing and for helping colleagues become better writers. The award’s goal is to encourage new generations of reporters who exhibit those traits.

 

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