Graduate Roy Harris has been added to the WGHS Hall of Fame and spoke to the ECHO and journalism class about his book “Pulitzer’s Gold” on Sept. 13.
Harris has been a journalist for 40 years working at the “Post-Dispatch,” “Wall Street Journal,” and at the ECHO was the Sports Editor. He recalled his advisor from the ECHO yelling at him due to his wanting to publish an article about a group of girls starting a flag football team, which in 1960 was unusual.
His advisor immediately “hit the ceiling” and said, “Do you know what would happen to a girl if she was collided with on a football field? She would never be able to have a child, she could be seriously injured, and you’re going to promote this in this newspaper? I don’t think so!” and continued to lecture him in front of the ECHO staff at that time.
“It is a strange feeling to go into the high school you graduated from 49 years, and lots have not change, but lots have,” Harris said about his high school days.
As the presentation went on, he spoke about the things he was able to do in exploring the Pulitzer Prizes. “I get to talk to the reporters who have done the best work of the year,” he said and went on to say that he found there wasn’t much written on how the reporters were able to find the information from the stories.
“You think of journalism as one person getting out there and getting a story. It’s rarely that way. It’s usually teams of editors and reporters,” Harris explained.
His fascination with the Pulitzers’ began when his father won a Pulitzer for a story on reporters from Illinois and Missouri getting bribes from their state’s government. His father’s 100 birthday came in 2002, which made Harris think about the history of the Pulitzer in his father’s former Newspaper, “The Post- Dispatch.”
After doing research, he created a pamphlet to tell the Post-Dispatch about what he discovered. He continued to do more research and got more involved with the stories and began to write “Pulitzer’s Gold.”
“They (Pulitzer Prize Committee) tend to be a little bit behind the times though,” Harris said as a second reason for writing the book. He explained that he want to give the Pulitzer Prize people a little kick into the present as they often only look at the print papers and not at on-line publications.