Pulitzer committee names alum runner-up

By Saj Sri-Kumar

The Columbia School of Journalism named an alumna a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting for her work examining debt collection.

Jessica Silver-Greenberg ’00 published a series of articles in the Wall Street Journal explaining how debt collectors sue consumers to recover money and collect expired payments that consumers are no longer legally required to pay.

Silver-Greenberg said she was notified about the nomination by the Journal but did not know she was a finalist until April 16. The award ultimately went to David Wood of the Huffington Post for his examination of the troubles faced by returning veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iran.

A professional reporter since she graduated from Princeton in 2004, Silver-Greenberg said she hadn’t investigated debt collection before she started at the Journal two years ago.

“Once I was at the Journal, it was a project I was very interested in, and my editor was really, incredibly supportive,” she said.

Silver-Greenberg didn’t encounter much resistance during her reporting.

“I think consumers were surprised I wanted to hear their stories, but were very generous with me in sharing,” she said.

In March, Silver-Greenberg left the Journal and currently works as a reporter for the New York Times, where she has published more stories about the financial industry, including two front page stories.

As Managing Editor of the Chronicle during her senior year, Silver-Greenberg co-wrote a story on teen sexuality, which led concerned parents to call the administration. But Silver-Greenberg said that she got her start in journalism well before the Chronicle.

“I’ve always been interested in being a reporter,” she said.