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Miriam Ottenberg

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Miriam Ottenberg (October 7, 1914 in Washington, D.C. – November 10, 1982) was the first woman news reporter for The Washington Star who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1960, for a series of articles exposing the practices of unscrupulous used car dealers in Washington D.C.[1]


Her father was Louis Ottenberg (1886–1960),[2] a lawyer for 45 years in the District of Columbia, at whose suggestion the American Bar Association created the Magna Carta Memorial in Runnymede, England.[3] Her mother was Nettie (Podell) Ottenberg, one of the first training social workers in the United States who won the first federal funding for day care.[4]


Ottenberg's follow-up stories led to enactment of remedial law.[5]

With several honors and awards given during her career, Ottenberg also was one of the first reporters to reveal that the Mafia was an organized crime network.[5][6] She once summed up her feelings about her role as a journalist: "A reporter should expose the bad and campaign for the good. That's the way I was brought up."[7]

Awards and recognition

  • Co-winner of the Washington Newspaper Guild competition for public service articles in 1953
  • Honorable mention awards in the same category in 1954 and 1958, and in 1959
  • Pulitzer Prize in 1960 for best investigation report: “Buyer Beware”
  • Bill Pryor Award of the Washington Newspaper Guild for her series on used car fraud, “Buyer Beware”
  • First place in the local news category for her stories on an abortion ring and on murders of women
  • In May 1958, capital police, jurists, and local and federal government officials held a party to pay tribute to Ottenberg's efforts against crime
  • She was given awards for distinction by the National Council of Jewish Women in 1963 and by the American Association of University Women in 1975
  • In 1979 she won the Hope Chest Award from the National Capital Chapter of the National MS Society


Ottenberg published the following books:

  • The Warren Commission Report: The Assassination of President Kennedy Miriam Ottenberg
  • The Pursuit of Hope Ottenberg, Miriam ISBN 9780892560691
  • The Federal Prosecutors (Prentice-Hall), a book about the FBI (1962)

Source: "Miriam Ottenberg", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, March 15th),

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  1. ^ The Pulitzer Prizes. "Miriam Ottenberg of The Evening Star, Washington, DC". Retrieved October 8, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "Louis Ottenberg". Geni. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  3. ^ Ottenberg, Louis (June 1957). "Magna Charta Documents: The Story Behind the Great Charter". American Bar Association Journal. 43 (6): 497. JSTOR 25720021.
  4. ^ "Ottenberg, Nettie Podell (1887–1982)." Dictionary of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women Through the Ages, edited by Anne Commire and Deborah Klezmer, vol. 2, Yorkin Publications, 2007, pp. 1456-1457. Gale eBooks, Accessed 10 May 2021.
  5. ^ a b Elizabeth A. Brennan, Elizabeth C. Clarage, eds., Who's who of Pulitzer Prize Winners (Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999), ISBN 978-1573561112, p. 356. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  6. ^ Marston, Brenda (1988). "Miriam Ottenberg Papers, 1931-1982". University of Wisconsin Digital Collections. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  7. ^ Carper, Elsie (November 10, 1982). "Reporter Miriam Ottenberg Of The Washington Star Dies". Washington Post. Retrieved April 28, 2020.

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