Tom Hallman Jr.
Joshua Bessex/The Daily Astorian


Story Critiques from Tom Hallman

Get a story critiqued by one of the nation’s most respected and decorated journalists, Pulitzer winner Tom Hallman Jr. of the Oregonian. Hallman, who is one of this year’s speakers at the Colorado Press Association’s Annual Convention, will be critiquing Colorado reporters articles during the two-day event on April 21-22 at the Denver West Sheraton. If you would like a story to be critiqued, send an email with the subject line “CPA critique” to Hallman at, and include one article. Please also state if you would prefer the critique to occur Friday, Saturday or on either date. Hallman will be accepting up to 10 articles total to review.


Tom Hallman Jr., 61, is considered one of the nation's premier narrative writers. During his career, he has won every major feature-writing award, some for stories that took months to report, others less than a couple of hours. The stories range from the drama of life and death in a neo-natal unit, to the quiet pride of a man graduating from college.

A common thread in all of Hallman's stories is the exploration of the character's heart and soul. Hallman believes that every writer — no matter how many years they have been in this business — can learn how to spot true stories and report and write them in ways that resonate with readers. The ability to write has less to do with pure talent, and more with the understanding of craft, vision and emotion.

He was born and raised in Portland and graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1977. He's worked at a car wash, a grocery store, a greyhound race track and was a volunteer at a VA hospital. He also worked as a bartender for one week, and was a question on the television show quiz “Jeopardy.””

His first journalism job was in New York City as copy editor for Hearst Magazines Special Publications. After being fired, he returned to Oregon as a reporter at The Hermiston Herald, a small weekly in Hermiston, OR., before landing a job at the Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, WA. In 1980, he moved to The Oregonian where he covered crime for 10 years. He is now a senior reporter, and writes a weekly feature column for the Oregonian.

He is a frequent contributor to Readers Digest, and his stories have appeared in Esquire, Best Life and Star magazine.

His book, "Sam: The Boy Behind the Mask," was published in 2002.

His latest book, "Dispatches from 1320," is an anthology of his work. It is available on Amazon.

Hallman writes a column on writing for Quill Magazine. He has been a speaker at National Writer's Workshops and at papers across the United States. He has taught at USC, Notre Dame and Brown University.

His awards include:

  • Pulitzer Prize - feature writing
  • Pulitzer finalist - beat reporting
  • Pulitzer finalist - feature writing.
  • American Society of Newspaper Editors winner - feature writing
  • American Society of Newspaper Editors winner -- feature writing
  • American Society of Newspaper Editors - finalist
  • National Society of Professional Journalists - feature writing
  • National Society of Professional Journalists - feature writing
  • National Scripps Howard Journalism Award - Ernie Pyle Human Interest Writing
  • National Scripps Howard - Business Reporting
  • National Headliner Award - Outstanding Feature Writing
  • National Headliner Award -- Outstanding Feature Writing
  • Nixon National Writing Award
  • Penny Missouri, multiple awards
  • Livingston Award for Young Journalists