In 1991, Wall Street Journal staff writer Sue Shellenbarger gave birth to her second child, and, soon after, quit her job. "Although my editors were extremely supportive, I was finding that beat reporting didn't leave me enough time or flexibility to be as involved with my children as I wanted to," she recalls.
However, Shellenbarger's difficulty juggling family and work actually boosted her career. Inspired by her own experiences, she pitched an idea for a column about work and family issues to her editors. They bit, and she started penning the column in 1991. Since 1994, "Work & Family" has been a weekly staple of The Wall Street Journal.
Over the years, Shellenbarger garnered a Pulitzer Prize nomination and her column has received six major national awards, including "Best General Interest Column" from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Adding to Shellenbarger's honors, Elizabeth Carll, PhD, chair of the Div. 46 (Media) News Media, Public Education, Public Policy Committee, announced at APA's Annual Convention that the journalist had won the division's News Media Recognition Award. The annual award recognizes excellence in reporting psychological information.
"The News Media Recognition Award to The Wall Street Journal is especially relevant because it's an opportunity to spotlight the importance of psychological research to the mainstream business community," says Carll.
Carll and the committee were particularly impressed by how Shellenbarger goes beyond typical topics such as absenteeism's effect on businesses' bottom lines. Over the last few years, the "Work & Family" column has addressed a diverse array of issues, including how taking separate vacations affects marriages, finding quality day care and handling conflict with co-workers.
Often, Shellenbarger calls upon psychologists to share their research findings with her readers.
"The work of professional psychologists has played a large and rapidly growing role in my coverage because I see that as one of the most promising areas for...my readers to find help," Shellenbarger notes.