Connie Schultz, 47, is a columnist at The Plain Dealer. She was a freelance writer for 15 years before joining The Plain Dealer in 1993. Schultz grew up in the working-class town of Ashtabula, Ohio, near Cleveland. She was the first in her family to go to college, and graduated with a journalism degree from Kent State University in 1979.
She was a 2003 Pulitzer Prize finalist in feature writing for her series, "The Burden of Innocence," which chronicled the ordeal of Michael Green, who was imprisoned for 13 years for a rape he did not commit. The week after her series ran, the real rapist turned himself in after reading her stories. He is currently service a five-year prison sentence.
Schultz's series won numerous honors, including the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Social Justice Reporting, the National Headliner Award's Best of Show and journalism awards from both Harvard and Columbia universities.
She previously won a National Headliner Award (third place) for commentary and was an American Society of Newspaper Editors finalist for commentary, which resulted in the publication of one of her essays, about a girl's coming to terms with her homosexuality, in the book "2002 Best Newspaper Writing."
Last year, Schultz won the Batten Medal, which honors "a body of journalistic work that reflects compassion, courage, humanity and a deep concern for the underdog."
Schultz is married to Sherrod Brown and is the mother of two children and two stepdaughters.