David Brooks Award Statement
The Award for Excellence in the Reporting of Social Issues goes to New York Times columnist and PBS Newshour commentator David Brooks. As the nominating letter for Brooks stated, “Few commentators in the public sphere, from anywhere on the political spectrum, have done as much as David Brooks to promote public understanding of and appreciation for the social sciences in general and sociology in particular in recent years.” Over the years, Brooks’s columns have used or explored, either explicitly or implicitly, such core sociological themes as social capital, status, trust, embeddedness, networks, norms, and the impact of social structures of life chances. His columns regularly mention sociologists (ranging from senior scholars to graduate students) by name and provide a wide audience for their work. For example, his columns have described or otherwise promoted the work of scholars including Manuel Castells, Christopher Jencks, Lisa Keister, Annette Lareau, and Robert Wuthnow. He has criticized economists for an insufficiently social view of human nature, insisting that economics must “get human nature right” (Brooks quote). For these accomplishments and others detailed in his nominating letter, David Brooks is the recipient of the 2011 Reporting of Social Issues Award.