St. Petersburg Times staff writer Lane DeGregory has been named a Fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists in recognition of her "extraordinary contribution to the profession," the SPJ announced.
She becomes the third Times journalist so honored, joining former chairmen Nelson Poynter and Eugene Patterson.
Other journalists to receive the award in recent years include the late Tim Russert of NBC, Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, Woodward's former Post partner Carl Bernstein, and World War II-era correspondent Ernie Pyle.
The SPJ said the selection committee "was impressed with DeGregory's knack for bringing readers into the lives of people living on the margins of society. As a reporter on real people's lives, DeGregory's commitment to staying in touch with the people she writes about is noteworthy."
"Besides her excellent writing, what clinched this honor for DeGregory is her willingness to help share her knowledge with other younger journalists who aspire to learn the craft she has mastered so well," said John Ensslin, a member of the selection committee.
DeGregory, 44, joined the Times in 2000. She won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for her story "The Girl in the Window," about a severely neglected child who was adopted by a family in Fort Myers Beach.
She has won numerous other national awards, including the American Society of News Editors award for nondeadline writing, the ASNE Batten Medal for writing that showed "a deep concern for the underdog," the Ernie Pyle Award for human interest writing, and the National Headliner award for feature writing.
In 2009, DeGregory received the Paul Hansell Award from the Florida Society of News Editors for her distinguished achievement in Florida journalism.
DeGregory lives in Gulfport with her husband and their two teenage sons. She will receive the SPJ award at a banquet on Sept. 27 in New Orleans.