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Pulitzer's Gold: Behind the Prize for Public Service Journalism Revised edition, New in Paper Edition

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0826218919
ISBN-10: 0826218911
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Editorial Reviews


“A gold mine of inspiration for both journalists and non- journalists….Pulitzer's Gold offers marvelous storytelling, real-life adventures, and absolute proof that journalism can change our world for the better.”
Jeffrey Zaslow, co-author, The Last Lecture, and Wall Street Journal columnist

“This well-researched and engrossingly presented study chronicles time-bound cases of award-winning journalism and timeless lessons for news people and citizens who care about reportage with reverberation. Pulitzer’s Gold is first-rate journalism history.”
Philadelphia Inquirer

“It is a must read for those who want an inside look at journalism at its best. There is no higher calling among American newspapers than public service journalism, and Roy Harris delves into it with flair and expertise.”
Gene Roberts, cowinner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for History

“[A] fine contribution to both scholarship and instruction, a book that can be read for fun, consulted for research, and assigned for class.”
Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly

“It is loaded with the Aha! moments that make us, as journalists, glad we passed up the big-bucks MBA track to try to save the world instead.”
Nieman Reports

“At a time when the business model of the American newspaper lies broken, this book tells us, by vivid examples, why newspapers are essential to our national well-being. It is a sobering yet inspiring message.”
John S. Carroll, former Los Angeles Times editor and 1993–2002 Pulitzer Prize Board member

About the Author

Roy J. Harris Jr. served from 1971 to 1994 as a reporter with the Wall Street Journal, including six years as deputy chief of its fourteen-member Los Angeles bureau. He then spent thirteen years as senior editor of The Economist Group’s CFO magazine. Early in his career he reported at the Los Angeles Times and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 488 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Missouri; Revised edition, New in Paper edition (February 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826218911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826218919
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #850,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Roy J. Harris Jr. has been a journalist for some of the nation's most respected news organizations for four decades. From 1971 to 1994 he served as a reporter and editor for the Wall Street Journal, including six years as deputy chief of its 14-member Los Angeles bureau. His next 13 years were as senior editor of The Economist Group's Boston-based CFO Magazine and He currently works from his home in Hingham, Mass.

As a commentator on press public service and the Pulitzer Prizes, he regularly contributes to the Web site of the St. Petersburg, Florida-based Poynter Institute. He has taught journalism as an adjunct professor at Emerson College in Boston, and loves discussing Pulitzer-winning journalism with college classes around the country. While with CFO, from 2006 to 2007 Harris was national president of the 800-member American Society of Business Publication Editors. He currently serves as ASBPE Foundation president, and is a founding member of the ASBPE ethics committee.

The son of a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Harris began his career as a copyboy and later a reporter for the Post-Dispatch. While attending Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism he was managing editor of the Daily Northwestern. In 1968 he reported for the Los Angeles Times, where one assignment was helping cover the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

After three years at the Journal in Pittsburgh he moved to the West Coast, taking over the Journal's aerospace beat and writing about airlines, entertainment and sports--including the 1984 Summer Olympics. As deputy bureau chief he helped coordinate coverage of such stories as the 1992 race rioting that followed the police beating of Rodney King, and the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

His research for Pulitzer's Gold began in 2002, when he returned to St. Louis to make a presentation, on the hundredth anniversary of his father's birth, about the five Public Service Pulitzers won by the Post-Dispatch.

IN THE VIDEO ATTACHED TO THIS SITE Harris discusses the courage of journalists covering Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R Freedman on January 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Roy Harris has done a tremendous job bringing much forgotten history alive with his eloquent book Pulitzer's Gold. In the tradition of great historical writers like Barbara Tuchman, Harris weaves together rich strands of narrative to tell the compelling stories behind the most influential journalism of our times like the publishing of the Pentagon Papers, the year-long investigation into the Watergate break-in by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, and the outing of the Boston Diocese's shocking cover-up of the sexual predators in its midst. These stories and others are already familiar to us but what's not familiar are the stories behind the stories, and by filling in these details, Harris does a tremendous service not only to journalists but to anyone for whom history is a dynamic, urgent teacher. In reading Harris' gripping accounts of how these stories unfolded, I was reminded how vital good historical writing is to our understanding of what's going on today. This book is sure to attract a readership outside the communities of journalists and historians for whom these stories will be engrossing; I suspect anyone with a thirst for understanding our contemporary culture will find his writing invaluable. Maybe even more importantly, they'll find the stories just a good read. After all, how many of us knew that both the New York Times and the Washington Post were almost bypassed for the Public Service gold medal by the Pulitzer committee for their respective work on the Pentagon Papers and Watergate? And for the Watergate affecianado, Harris' interviews with Bob Woodward and others provides entirely fresh accounts of those pivotal events from the people that were there.That's living history.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Owl on January 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Pure Gold---Five Shining Stars for "Pulitizer's Gold"

"river run, past Eve and Adam's," so begins Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" that boisterous tale tracing through time and space the story of Anna Livia Plurabelle, the Liffey, and her people. As we reach the sea, the last words of the last chapter, ("A way a lone a last a loved a long the") return to the first. "Pulitzer's Gold" has that grand cycling sweep. Beginning in Chapter 1 with the heart-holding, eye-catching stories of the two 2006 prizes (for coverage of Hurricane Katrina by the Sun Herald and the Times Picayune), the book's close celebrates the 200l award to the Oregonian for uncovering U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service abuses.

The 21 glorious chapters interweave three eternal golden braids, as intricate as any described by Hofstadter in Escher, Gödel, and Bach. These are (1) the story of the Pulitzer Prize itself, a story of growth, change, challenges, and evolution, (2) the individual stories of the newspapers, publishers, editors, and investigative reporters on whose walls shine the gold medals, and (3) the winning stories themselves, an archive of democracy in America, 1917 to the present.

Written tautly, wittily, masterfully, Pulitzer's Gold represents in itself a monumental investigative expedition. Archival research, yes, but also years of meetings, interviews, conversations, verifying and expanding what was being discovered. As good a read as a novel, this is equally a work of scholarship, each chapter detailing the sources, and illuminated by a comprehensive appendix of all the Pulitzer journal awards.

The bigger story is told through the individual stories, an approach that is endlessly fascinating.
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Format: Hardcover
Former Wall Street Journal reporter Roy J. Harris Jr. presents Pulitzer's Gold: Behind the Prize for Public Service Journalism, an in-depth account of the ninety-year history of the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, especially the most exalted prize of the Joseph Pulitzer Gold Medal. From accountings of the distinguished journalistic coverage that exposed sexual predators among Catholic priests, to the New York Times' role in helping the community cope after the September 11th attacks, to the Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's uncovering of the Watergate scandal, to the Boston Post's revelation of swindling schemes hatched by Charles Ponzi and much more, Pulitzer's Gold takes the reader on a one-of-a-kind historical tour. A distinguished tribute to the journalists who labored to bring the truth to light and help make America better place to live, as well as a studious history of journalism's most prestigious award.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Rowe on September 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Roy Harris has done a thorough and masterful job telling the stories of how the most worthy of all Pulitzler Prizes have been won.
Revealing how the winning newspapers deployed their resources, made courageous decisions and maintained journalism's highest ideals -- often against great odds and determined foes -- makes for inspiring reading.
In this, perhaps the most challenging time ever to be practicing journalism, "Pulitzer's Gold" is a vivid reminder of the pivotal role of selfless, dedicated, professional journalism in America.
Every journalist -- every citizen -- should read this book. These days, the role of a free press in the United States often is challenged, even ridiculed; Harris' book is a reminder of the critical importance of a free press in a democracy.
We crown heroes easily in our culture; the people Harris writes about in Pulitzer's Gold really are heroic, and this book serves a great public service in elevating the work of journalism's finest.
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