June 2nd, 2011 12:34 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: Media, Multnomah County

Pulitzer-Winning Reporter Julie Sullivan Leaving The Oregonian for a County PR Job

Julie Sullivan

 The Oregonian is losing one of its most respected reporters, and in the daily’s newsroom, the loss is a shocker: Julie Sullivan, a Pulitzer-winning journalist, has told editors she’s leaving to work for Multnomah County as a public-affairs spokesperson. Sullivan declined to comment to WW about her plans.

Sources say Sullivan accepted an offer to fill an advertised vacancy for a senior staffer in the county communications department, a job where the top pay is about $88,000 a year. She will work under David Austin, the county’s communications chief and a former Oregonian reporter. Austin in April hired WW managing news editor Hank Stern, also a former Oregonian reporter, as a communications coordinator.

Sullivan joins an already crowded legion of local government PR reps. WW’s recent investigation found there are at least 94 of them, and their salaries add up to nearly $7 million a year.

At a newspaper that has hemorrhaged talented reporters in recent months, Sullivan, 49, is perhaps the biggest loss. She's a past winner of Sigma Delta Chi’s top journalism award and shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for the newspaper’s investigation of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. In 2009, her stories exposed how defense contractor KBR threatened the health of Oregon soldiers in the Iraq War.

Other recent notable departures from The Oregonian include City Hall reporter Ryan Frank—who left to become publisher of the Oregon Daily Emerald, the student newspaper at the University of Oregon—and Peter Ames Carlin, who quit to write a bio of Bruce Springsteen.
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