A short history of journalist geniuses, as MacArthur Fellows are announced

The Washington Post’s David Finkel was named a MacArthur Fellow Monday. He told his coworker Paul Farhi:

“They’re not just endorsing my work in particular but a type of journalism,” said Finkel, who is at work on a book that chronicles the postwar lives of some of those he profiled in “The Good Soldiers.” “I like to think this is an endorsement of long-form journalism, in which you stay long enough to tell the story.”


Finkel’s honor places him among an elite company of journalists who’ve received what’s commonly referred to as a “genius grant.” I scanned through the MacArthur Foundation’s fellows to compile the following list, which I’m sure is incomplete. Former Baltimore Sun reporter David Simon, for instance, won for his writing and his film and television work, and critics, even if they work or worked for a news organization, are classified separately; I tried to rope them all in but I may have missed some folks. Additions here, please.

• Richard Critchfield, 1981
• Ada Louise Huxtable, 1981
• Thomas Whiteside, 1986
• Tina Rosenberg, 1987
• Irving Howe, 1987
• Susan Sontag, 1990
• Paul Berman, 1991
• Michael Massing, 1992
• Robert H. Hall, 1992
• William H. Siemering, 1993
• Stanley Crouch, 1993
• Alma Guillermoprieto, 1995
• Sandy Close, 1995
• Charles R. E. Lewis, 1998
• Mark Danner, 1999
• David A. Isay, 2000
• Dave Hickey, 2001
• Jean Strouse, 2001
• Katherine Boo, 2002
• Jack Miles, 2002
• Adrian LeBlanc, 2006
• Lynsey Addario, 2009
• Jerry Mitchell, 2009
• Alex Ross, 2009
• David Simon, 2010
• Jad Abumrad, 2011
• Peter Hessler, 2011

Related: A slideshow of this year’s MacArthur Fellows (The Wall Street Journal)

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