- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 12, 2005

“Knowing Michael, he is above us right now. He is laughing and giggling. … He was so smart and such a gifted writer, wickedly funny, mischievous, brave, caring and above all, loyal to family, friends and his principles.”

So spoke Atlantic Media’s President John Fox Sullivan of Michael Kelly, the late journalist and Washington native in whose name the company has established an annual cash award honoring writers and editors whose work exemplifies Mr. Kelly’s spirit.

Superlatives abounded during Thursday’s intimate buffet dinner in the company’s Watergate offices that honored New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, whose work, a jury of distinguished peers had earlier determined, easily embodies the same care, passion and energy Mr. Kelly exemplified during his journalism career at the New Republic, the New Yorker, the National Journal, the Atlantic Monthly and other publications.

Just two days back from Sudan, where he had been producing a stream of essays protesting ethnic cleansing campaigns in that country, Mr. Kristof, 46, said he never knew Mr. Kelly personally, although their careers had overlapped for a while at the New York Times. Mr. Kelly, a former employee of Atlantic Media founded by entrepreneur David Bradley, died while on a reporting mission in Iraq in 2003.

“You’ve entered into the Michael Kelly tribe,” the soft-spoken Mr. Bradley told Mr. Kristof in his remarks. “All of us loved this man.”

Many of the writing Kelly clan were there, including Mr. Kelly’s widow, Madelyn; his sons, Tom and Jack; and his parents, Marguerite and Tom. Among the print and broadcast heavyweights present were Terence Smith, Diane Rehm, Bill Plante, Bill Kristol, Leon Wieseltier, Jack Limpert, George Will, Ann Compton, Sam Donaldson and retiring Atlantic Monthly Managing Editor Cullen Murphy.

Ann Geracimos

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