Raju, 32, along with colleagues Glenn Thrush, Carrie Budoff Brown and John Bresnahan at Politco, an influential Washington news site focusing on presidential politics, was named the winner of the Merriman Smith Award for Excellence in Presidential Coverage under pressure in the print category.
Judges called their report on the deal to raise the debt ceiling "a comprehensive, inside look at how the deal was made - and almost fell apart." Raju's first big scoop came in 1999 when a streaker dashed across the University of Wisconsin's football stadium, Politico said. "I landed the first interview with the Wisconsin student who streaked the field in the nude - the moment after Ron Dayne broke the all-time NCAA rushing record before a crowd of some 80,000 screaming fans at Camp Randall Stadium," Raju wrote in an email.
"Conveniently, the streaker is one of my buddies, so he granted me the first interview just as he became a campus legend." After graduating, Raju briefly worked in broadcasting at the NBC affiliate in Madison, Wisconsin, on the assignment desk. He has been a reporter in Washington for 10 years, and wrote for The Hill, Congressional Quarterly and Inside Washington Publishers before joining Politico. Raju and his wife, Archana, live in upper Northwest Washington. A Chicago-area native, Raju is "a die-hard" Cubs, Bears and Bulls fan.