Susan Taylor Martin, a veteran reporter and editor for the Tampa Bay Times, has been named the 2019 recipient of the Futrell Award for Outstanding Achievement in Communications and Journalism. The annual award is given to a Duke alum by the Dewitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy.
In 37 years with the Times, Martin has had an extraordinary range of assignments from local business reporter to national reporter to foreign correspondent.
“The judges were impressed by the breadth of Susan’s exceptional work, which ranged from important investigative journalism at the local level, to compelling stories from overseas,” said DeWitt Wallace Center Director Bill Adair. “I worked with Susan for many years at the Tampa Bay Times and found her to be one of the most multi-talented journalists I’ve ever known.”
As a student at Duke, Martin was a researcher under political science professor Ralph Brabanti and worked on The Chronicle staff for four years before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1971. After graduation, she worked for the Associated Press, Detroit News, The Orlando Sentinel, and has been with the Tampa Bay Times, formerly the St. Petersburg Times, since 1982.
“I am both humbled and thrilled by this great honor,” Martin said. “Although Duke did not have a journalism program while I was there, the academic rigor enhanced my writing, researching and creative thinking abilities – key skills for a journalist. And being able to say I graduated from one of the nation’s best universities opened doors and helped me make valuable contacts that furthered my career and enhanced my work.’’
She said she was pleased the Futrell Award was honoring local journalism. “Despite budget and staff cuts, local newspapers all over the country have continued to expose problems and hold people in power accountable. The Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, the original fact-checking project, originated in the Tampa Bay Times newsroom. The national debate over Stand Your Ground began with reporting by the Times and other Florida media on the deadly, unforeseen consequences of such laws. Every day, journalists for local and regional newspapers are working hard to right wrongs and identify issues that ultimately affect us all.”
Martin has won other awards including the National Sigma Delta Chi Award for non-deadline reporting; the Society of Features Journalism award for narrative feature writing; The Green Eyeshade Award for business reporting and the Paul Hansell Award, which is given to a Florida journalist for an outstanding body of work.
Born and raised in Greenwich Village in New York City, Martin now lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.