(June 9, 2008) — New College of Florida alumni John Wilke (’76) and Alexis Simendinger (’75) were recently recognized as tops in their field nationally for their journalism coverage of the U.S. Congress and the White House, respectively.John Wilke, who is a reporter and news editor in the Washington bureau of The Wall Street Journal, received an Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress from the National Press Foundation.  The award, which includes a $5,000 cash prize, is given annually to one print journalist and one broadcast journalist, each of whose work shows thoughtful appraisal and insight into the workings of the U.S. Congress.  Joining Wilke on the podium this year was Drew Griffin of CNN.
Wilke (pictured above at the award ceremony) won his award for in-depth reporting highlighting corruption in Congress, including what the National Press Foundation referred to as “the definitive piece” on discredited former Representative Charles Taylor of North Carolina, whose questionable business and investment practices led to his re-election defeat in 2006.
Wilke holds a bachelor’s degree from New College and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.  He has worked for the Journal since 1989.  Prior to that he worked for the Boston Globe and BusinessWeek.
New College alumna Alexis Simendinger (pictured at left with President George Bush following the award ceremony) is a native of Washington, D.C., and has been a reporter in the capital since 1986. Since 1997, she has served as a White House and national correspondent for the nonpartisan weekly news magazine National Journal.  She also appears regularly on the PBS news program Washington Week with Gwen Ifill.
For her “sustained excellence in White House coverage,” Simendinger was recently awarded the Aldo Beckman Award by the White House Correspondents’ Association.  The award judges recognized her in particular for breaking the story about the use of Republican National Committee email accounts by some White House officials.  The series of five articles “repeatedly demonstrated excellence” in coverage, said officials from the WCHA in announcing the award, which carries with it a $1,000 cash prize.
In addition to her bachelor’s degree from New College, Simendinger holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri at Columbia.  Prior to joining the staff at National Journal, she served as a White House correspondent for the Bureau of National Affairs and as a reporter for The Tampa Tribune.
For additional information, please contact Aimee Chouinard at (941) 487-4152 or email publicaffairs@ncf.edu.