In Memoriam: Michael Lindenberger, Pulitzer-Prize Winning Journalist
May 8, 2023
By Julie Wrinn
The Department of Political Science lost one of its best and brightest alumni, Michael Lindenberger (B.A. 2003, Law 2006) in December 2022 at the age of 51. Just last summer we were celebrating Lindenberger winning the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for the series “The Big Lie,” rejecting claims of widespread voter fraud and advocating for voting reforms, as part of a team of Houston Chronicle journalists. A year later, Lindenberger has been posthumously named as a finalist for a 2023 Pulitzer Prize in opinion writing for a series of editorials about the Uvalde school massacre, along with Houston Chronicle editorial board members for their work in helping Texas readers understand the mass shooting that killed 21 people.
Lindenberger’s death came only a few months after he was hired by the Kansas City Star as editorial page editor and a vice president. The Kansas City Star writes, “Though his time in Kansas City was short, his energy and enthusiasm will always stay with the colleagues who were lucky enough to know him.”
A Louisville native, Lindenberger wrote for his school newspaper at Trinity High School, was later a chief political writer for LEO, and a regional reporter and bureau chief in Elizabethtown for the Louisville Courier-Journal, also covering the legislature. Newspapers around the country have published remembrances of Lindenberger, including the Courier-Journal and the Kansas City Star, detailing his other endeavors such as teaching law, writing his own bourbon blog, and writing on a biography of Robert Penn Warren.
Thanks to the generosity of colleagues at the Kansas City Star and family and friends, UofL has created the Michael A. Lindenberger Memorial Scholarship to benefit student journalists of the Louisville Cardinal newspaper, where Lindenberger served as Editor-in-Chief in the mid-1990s and which is now housed in the UofL College of Arts & Sciences.
Over 150 colleagues, friends, family, and former teachers from high school and college attended a Celebration of Life on February 25, where journalists from around the country and the world shared stories of how Lindenberger had inspired and mentored them. Tate Luckey, a UofL undergraduate who currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Louisville Cardinal, spoke about what the scholarship will mean for today's students and his gratitude to Lindenberger for laying a groundwork of excellence at the student newspaper. Senior Development Director Denise Bohn spoke about the anticipated impact of the scholarship and how it will serve as a living legacy of Lindenberger's life and work.
A thriving democracy depends upon robust local journalism, and as newspapers everywhere face financial challenges that limit their capacity to report on local news, student newspapers like the Louisville Cardinal play an important role in filling that gap. Please consider supporting our student journalists and honoring this outstanding alumnus by making a donation to the Michael A. Lindenberger Memorial Scholarship here.