Peter Applebome, a Duke University alumnus who works as a writer and reporter for The New York Times, has been named the 2018 winner of the Futrell Award for Outstanding Achievement in Communications and Journalism.
The award is administered annually by the Dewitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy to a Duke alum for excellent work in the field of communications and journalism.
“Peter Applebome was the ideal choice for this year’s Futrell Award because of his remarkable work over four decades,” said Bill Adair, director of the Dewitt Wallace Center. “He has been an exemplary journalist who has told stories through the fascinating characters he has interviewed and profiled throughout the nation.”
“He is a great role model for our students because he understands the gentle art of reporting and the value of clear writing,” Adair added.
Currently deputy national editor at The New York Times, Applebome has been a reporter for the paper since 1987. He has held several different positions at the Times, and was for many years responsible for the paper’s “Our Towns” column, which produces biweekly dispatches from places in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut.
Before taking over “Our Towns,”, he served as the Houston bureau chief, the Southern bureau chief in Atlanta, the chief education correspondent and the assistant metropolitan editor.
While working as a reporter, Applebome also published two books. His first book, Dixie Rising: How the South is Shaping American Values, Politics, and Culture, is what The Washington Post called “one of the best portrayals of the South in years.” His second book, a personal narrative recounting his experience as father to a Boy Scout, is titled Scout’s Honor: A Father’s Unlikely Foray into the Woods. The New York Times Book Review called it “lively and lighthearted.”
Before joining the Times, Applebome filled reporter, editor and columnist roles at several news organizations in Texas, including The Corpus Christi Caller-Times, The Dallas Morning News and Texas Monthly magazine. Prior to that, he started his career with Ypsilanti Press in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Applebome has also taught journalism courses at the university level. He spent the spring of 2008 teaching “The Literature of Fact” at Princeton University and then served as a visiting professor of journalism at Vanderbilt University in 2009 and again in 2011.
In 2007, Applebome won the Urban Communication Foundation’s Gene Burd Urban Journalism Award, which honors “high quality urban media reporting, critical analysis, and research relevant to that content and its communication about city problems, programs, policies, and public priorities in urban life and culture.”
At Duke, Applebome worked on The Chronicle staff for four years before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in history in 1971. He went on to earn a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University in 1974, where he won the Harrington Award, the highest graduate student award offered by the Medill School of Journalism.
Applebome was born in New York City and grew up in Great Neck, New York. He now lives in Chappaqua, New York, with his wife, Mary. He has two children, Benjamin and Emma, and Benjamin graduated from Duke in 2009.