tv Book Discussion on Pulitzers Gold CSPAN April 24, 2016 11:05am-12:16pm EDT
marines, to bring these people to camps with the republic of viet cong will provide for the immediate needs -- food, medical care, shelter, and start them on the road to a fee. -- start them on the road to a new life. >> you can see our -- you can see our upcoming schedule. >>, done a list roy harris, jr. talks about his book, "pulitzer's gold: behind the prize for public service journalism." he exported history of the annual prize, which has been awarded for stories included little rock schools to reports of misconduct by catholic priest in 2003. mr. harris is joined by pulitzer
prize winning reporters elizabeth mehren and sacha pfeiffer. they focus on the future of community and public service journalism, which they deem fundamental to service life. this was recorded in brookline booksmith in brookline, massachusetts. 2016 marks the centennial of the pulitzer prize in this year's crisis will be announced on april 18. >> thank you all for coming. this discussion of "pulitzer's gold: behind the prize for public service journalism" will from st. louis. it is something we have to adjust to. i am roy harris, the author of the book, and i am honored to
have two top new england journalists, a list of his marriage to my far right, and sacha pfeiffer to my immediate right. part of our goal is to look at the powerful contributions of this century-long body of work. it was 90 years when i started work on it. we are almost up to a century. the pulitzer prize started in 1917. we look at the powerful contributions of this work, this body of work, that is represented in the book, but also examine the degree to which that type of reporting is threatened. reporting of public service nature on which democracy depends, and that is where the future of journalism element comes in tonight. i wish i could tell you that the past is prologue studying all of these wonderful stories, but i
fear this is one of the cases that prologue may not apply. to my far right is elizabeth mehren.-- elizabeth her writing may be found in the los angeles times today. you can take the girl out of the newsroom, but you can't take the news about of the girl. [laughter] roy: she has also been a reporter at the washington post and san francisco chronicle. the l.a. times is one of only three newspapers in the country that has won the public service pulitzer prize, the subject of my book on five occasions over this 90 plus year history. most recently, in 2005, although it was a very different "l.a. times" in 2005. elizabeth also is the author of "born to soon."
of "he is the co-author overcoming infertility." her son is a student at hampshire college. find people in their 20's crazy for journalism. elizabeth: proving that there is a mutant gene. roy: sacha pfeiffer reported for the boston globe. on theyed a key role spotlight team investigation that won the 2003 public service pulitzer gold-medal for its stories on sex abuse in the catholic church. she was a night journalism fellow in 2004 at stanford university and after returning to the globe, she created a legal affairs, while also cover nonprofits and philanthropy. an adjunctte and
professor, she is a co-author of "betrayal: the crisis in the catholic church." you have heard her reports on health science medicine and the environment. maybe if you knew things this week,. she got her started journalism moving to the globe in 1995. as for me, i was a reporter at the wall street journal on 1997 to 19 -- 2005. i was deputy chief of the los angeles bureau. and thed aviation defense industry. will to boston in 1996 to work for the economists group, which owns gfl magazine. later, the online version of gfl.com. in 2002, i began researching the stories behind public service pulitzer prizes which were first
awarded in 1917. i did that because i found there really was no good record of how that award-winning work had been done. i found that a lot of reporters knew nothing about that heritage of great reporting. i wanted to write it for journalism students, but also write it for general readership, the same people who may have idea of-- who love the finding out how newspapers and journalists work when they are at their very peak. what i had found is very little has been written about these prizes. it is interesting because you would expect a pulitzer prize would be well known, but the stories of how these articles were written is not well known. -- the presidents men is the all the presidents men proves that rule.
to do a chapter on it because it was a public service winner and got to spend time with bob woodward and ben bradley. basically, it was a lesser-known stories during this 90 plus years where i found the real treasure. , through theses years, dating back to world war i, the first prize went to the new york times away covered world war i. how newspaper journalism had increasingly been playing a role in exposing local , regional, and national problems. newspapersrly years, were still growing out of the yellow journalism period. they would do this in the early against great odds. in the very early years, in 1920, pulitzer winning stories exposed charles ponzi right here in boston.
by the, he was exposed boston post. but other stories help midwestern farmers do with the dustbowl. it reflected southern leadership working for peaceful school integration in the 1950's in little rock. -- this is onen example out of left field, a vicious california cult in the late 1970's. from the stores from the 1930's on, i was able to find journalist who had been involved with these projects and i was fortunate to find even journalists from as far back as 1936. all of those journalists from since died, but it was truly wonderful to get their stories and they felt like their stories behind the stories had never been told before. by coincidence, while i was working on this project starting
about 2002, there were two extraordinary cases of journalism that were occurring in our backyard in boston. of 2000 sevenr was my old paper, the wall street journal, which won its first pulitzer prize in 2007 for its discovery of how companies were improperly backdating , whichve stock options was costing stockholders a lot of money. the other, of course, was the 2002 work of the globe's spotlight team to exposed the years long church cover-up of how young parishioners were sexually abused by priests. that story became a centerpiece of pulitzer's gold. i was surprised no one had told that story behind the story. it gave me a great chance to meet the spotlight team, including sacha. was rudely
interrupted by yet another story that was to win the service -- public service pulitzer prize, that was 911. chugging away on that story when september 11 happened. that was a very local story, as well as a national story, international story. it was new york times had won the next year of their coverage creation of ar nation's challenge, that section they invented to help handle that issue. within it, the portraits of grief in the study of terrorism victims. very briefly, and researching the globe's stories, that is where i met sacha, and i discovered her amazing contributions for the reporting. each team of reporters has an amazing blend. i dealt with a lot of teams,
many of these public service pulitzer prizes were reported by teams. one of sacha's functions was to reallyew the victims and made those interviews, live. head --re victims victims who had never talked years and years before. tonight, i think our discussion will indeed turn to the question of the first future of journalism. it will be a natural function of looking at some of these great stories and a great tradition of the globe in the los angeles times and other papers liked them. -- papers like them. that was a subject i did not consider at all and i began researching pulitzer's gold appeared in 2002, it had not occurred to me that newspapers are going to be entering this slippery, slippery slide. i have had to reinvent the book as i got closer to writing it. i had to reread certain sections
of it to get a sense of what was happening in journalism. things over to turn to elizabeth for some thoughts on the pulitzer winning legacy. and what is becoming a public service in the 21st century? it is not a totally negative prospect, is elizabeth? royelizabeth: not at all. i want to enter -- i want to interject quickly. i was lucky to write about pulitzer's gold. i think we should do some full disclosure here and state that way has a personal connection to this whole story as well. this book is an extra ordinary labor of research. mine for ad journalism junkie. roy: i liked it. [laughter] elizabeth: it was really fun to
read stories, the early stories about how these things were done. roy, can you pleas mention your father? sr.,my father, roy harris, was involved with teams that won several pulitzer prizes. one of those stories was one he had broken himself. elizabeth: and it was really important. the book is both a labor of wonderful journalism research and history, which we don't have enough. most of us practicing journalism do it at a breakneck pace and we really are on a 24/7 schedule. susquehanna valley and i both got phone calls at 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning after senator kennedy died. that is the way it is. we don't stop and think about the history of how we do it, we just do it. roy dealt with it with
a labor of research and a labor of love. that was nice, too. he comes back to the passion that lies behind -- this comes back to the passion that lies behind the motive of why we become journalists. i probably thought i was going to grow up to be, i don't know, jane austen, but that didn't work. instead i became lois lane. as lois lane, i had always had a newsrooms of all persuasions. especially internet newsrooms now. it was for food for them and one for me. them and oner for for me. was the one i cared for passionately. underdog, about the shining lights on injustice.
they keep thist going. that is the fuel for all of us. we are always looking for the other side. that is why it is not going to go away. to quickly answer the future of journalism question, there is a future. atbe not a healthy future this moment. journalism is alive, not just -- just not as well as we like it to be. these are changing. -- things are changing. we are kind of liked those darwinian creatures emerging out of the sea. we don't know if you're going to beks -- s, it would be nice if we could have a crystal ball prediction. believe community journalism is not going to go away.
journalism will be a long time before we see the end of it. it is too vital to the community. community-based websites do not work the same way as dailies. people want to read about themselves. a very good example, here in banner,s the baystate which is the african-american, application.hop that is how it is important to is. that is unprecedented in a region. we were taught in journalism to not use the word "unprecedented ," because as soon as you use it, someone will come from behind and find something. i am going to put my professor ;i liz hat on.
we are described as working stiffs. i never buy white because i have ink stain on everything. student interest remains very high. i think this is a very positive side. no less of authority than robert at the cockeyed school of journalism in arizona described a journalism degree as sort of the new liberal arts degree. why is that? it is because the foundation of all journalism is curiosity. that is really what keeps us going. somewhat older children, keep saying, why? the ones who want to slap -- the ones that you want to slap.
we teach very, very deep research skills. we teach prioritization of events trying to figure out what is the most important event. we teach clear, succinct writing, so much so that i often tell my students, especially "i love to write" students, that this is uncreative writing. we teach a way to funnel, to to defend it.and after all we have to market is our own integrity and truth. i would say those are pretty important qualities. turning to investigative journalism and to the public service journalism, which standard.e gold
i also have been lucky enough to be a part of the -- part of a with the rodney king riots in los angeles. we have all worked on them. when you are doing the work, you aren't thinking i may get a pulitzer. you are thinking this is a really hot story, it is really important. it is very time-consuming this kind of reporting. -- is one reason it is very expensive because it is time consuming. most reporters, the notion of the spotlight-dedicated team is becoming more rare in newsrooms. instead, what we are seeing is , which isbridization exciting. in journalism, i used to work a
photographer, joe rosenthal, who took the famous photograph of the flag over you would jima and famoustook the photograph and won a pulitzer for it. justin! presses, news -- news just in! they launched the watchdog institute. forming anreporters investigative journalism , and theion, nonprofit san diego union. they will be providing stories for various outlets within the community we on that particular area.
in no other place in the virgin islands, we see a very, very aggressive group of reporting -- google reporters working there -- group of reporters working there. here it is this gorgeous paradise and the are digging up ambitious projects with titles cronies,"racts and showing how the island's government created sham contracts. the public really needs to know this information. how else are they going to get it? nowhere. more and more, i think you are seeing the hybridization were reporters and committed journalists, who may be are being marginalized from their .wn newsrooms
and are setting up their own outfit. there is a big group out of new york, which has the best reporters in america. a wonderful thing. we are now seeing a lot of partnering with universities. where sacha and i teach. have the new england center for investigative journalism, which is representing a partnership a practicing ,ournalism, student journalists and the university. win-win thing for everybody. the university of wisconsin, mama motter, uc berkeley -- my alma mater, uc berkeley.
universities, except i regret to say harvard. true thatt is woodward and bernstein and they are probably one of the best-known. the kids to learn the stories. the good news is they want to become these journalists. at all the look president boschman. -- all the president's men. it is not about becoming those specific people. they want the hardware. work.y want the hard
they want the glory, to coulo o. is the formements of delivery will be changing. it is changing now. newspapers are outright vanishing, or -- which is tragic. we all worry about the big hometown paper in boston. i don't take it going away. -- i don't think it's going away. or cutting back on staff. the tribune corporation of the los angeles times has eliminated all national correspondents, except the staff at the l.a. times. the l.a. times is now deliver national news to all the tribune papers.
the form of delivery will be changing. we will be seeing much more of this investigative teamwork stories. websites.be dedicated if you google investigative journalism websites, you will see many of them. the downside is there is no way to monitor them. have pulitzer , wee-winning journalists don't necessarily know. it is in a state of evolution. for that reason, we are going to see the pulitzer committee itself having to make some evolution of its own. right now, the pulitzer is print-centric roy:. it is morphing. elizabeth: sooner or later, they have to admit that there are awfully great journalism that is
web-centric. -- i certainly know there are websites i read daily for certain pieces of information. it is all changing. i hope that all of you will have morning papers delivered well into the next century. the next life, the hereafter. roy: thank you, elizabeth. your mention of what is going in boston creates a huge issue for all of us wondering about that amazing reporting that went on in 2002, and whether that kind of reporting could still continue. i hope that you will at least attack that one. elizabeth mention this, business, you go at
breakneck speed. the hard part is you can't control your schedule, so you lose control over your personalized. -- over your personal life. i had a friend who could not make any weekday plans because she had to counsel them so often. , crazy news just doesn't happen between now :00 and 5:00. when i had been covering courts for the globe, when i was asked to join the spotlight team, somebody said enjoy your early tire meant. reputation has been they do one or two stories a year. that was the expectation. in my case, it was the opposite. we did do one project we spent a few months on. the typical pattern was a three-day series and you write about the change. when we began to write the pre-story and publish it, it
became a daily beat for the globe and then a national story. we felt we cannot let ourselves be beat on a story we started. in my case, it was not an early retirement. it was exhausting. it was a real privilege to do that kind of work. the spotlight works on the part of the globe that is hard to get to. that was done by design so that what we were working on could be done in private. whatfew people would know was happening to decrease the chance of it leaking out. we wanted to get so far ahead that no one else could catch up when we are ready to publish. in my case, the greek history of the project was in early 2002, the globe got a new editor who is still there to this day. it was a classic case of fresh eyes on an old story. many of you remember father priest.had been a there was a lawyer in boston who
filed lawsuits against him alleging sexual abuse. columnist wrote a article that all of the files were sealed because the archdiocese had requested the courts sealed them saying the outweighs thecy public's interest to see the paperwork. most of the files were not available. marti said, why has no one questioned this that the files are sealed? there were two things happening. one is that the globe's lawyers went to the court. they work successful and the files were unsealed. think he came to the spotlight team and said, why don't you try to figure out how much was known about this case? the church always said, there were a few bad apples.
the church had known this was happening. we began to do that and found out the problem was much more forspread and had gone on decades. there was incredible documentation that the church had known. people had repeatedly gone to the bishop and archdiocese and parents would be placated, but priests would go -- the priest would be shipped elsewhere. if the priest was shipped from south to north, you would not see him again. we had a parent who went on a ski trip. she came across a priest that she claimed blessed her son. -- claimed abused her son. when we decided it was time for the team to move on and let the reporter take over, it was an interesting reaction we got.
heard from people who felt light the spotlight team had let them down and we should have kept writing. the reality was there was a point in which we had to hand it off to other writers. it is a great privilege to work for a tea light that -- for a team like that. there is incredible pressure to be prolific, productive. i have never had a quota for stories. you have to balance one a to produce a lot for your editors -- you have to balance wanting to produce a lot for your editors. my old boss had an expression about digging dry wells. sometimes you think you have a good story, but maybe it is not as good as you think. you have to go down the road until you figure out it is worthwhile.
in the case of an investigative take four ore to five people's time for quite a while. ofspapers are in a lot trouble. how long can they continue to fund that kind of project, where you put someone offer quite a while when you are trying to do so much work with a much smaller staff. can you afford to let 45 people to let can you afford four or five people work? very he detailed -- detailed. now, the globe is been committed to that. it has one of the longest running investigative teams. programs.y innovative
a lot of these are nonprofits. a lot of these are philanthropy funded. if you are not sort of self-sufficient, you are vulnerable to market changes that could hurt the deep pockets of your philanthropist's funder. all of us up here, we hope as newspapers try to figure out what they can do, don't lose that piece of it. we have given up a lot of the national reporting and international reporting. hopefully we can do those really deep digging local stories. the one thing i learned from the church story is you have to question authority. if you don't, this is what happens. this is why you need these teams to dig around and ask a lot of questions, so the bad things don't happen. roy: there is one piece of want to bring up that takes us back to the book a little bit of that
is an organization light a republic of which comes into , so often, this kind of reporting is dependent on things bubbling up from the beat. this is one of the pieces missing here. my publications, whether they be websites or newspapers, when they begin to look at things as, i can bring in these expert reporters to find a about albums in the community, the history of the public pulitzer prize, the story comes from the reporter, whether it is the religion reporter, in this case, the court reporter. in the case of watergate, it begins to bubble up from what is said in the courtroom. i have a better reason.
i do want to touch on a couple of stories. case where the story comes from the beat is the one thing we really have to worry about when mainstream media begins to decline. you are not going to be able to cover the beat with amateur reporters in the way we can do right now. there is nothing wrong with amateurs. it is just that we have all these trained reporters who do know how to get a story, how to work on a team, who has this blend of young reporters who can work the 47 and the experts like walter robinson, who will come in and spent all the time with the story. i think it is a very necessary commodity and one of the things we forget. blogs can handle this group of experts.
the reason elizabeth mentioned the philadelphia inquirer case. it is one case from the book that has a couple of things going for it. one, it is easy to tell because it is a fairly short story. some of these stories, you get into how a team works. you can tell from what sacha is saying, he gets to be very detailed. i think it is fun to read about it. hard tos sometimes relate. the other nice thing about the inquirer story i will tell is that it is the kind of story that can be done by any reporter, anywhere, as long as that reporter has the support of the editor. just to say, go bring me this story. there was a reporter who writes for the national post. at the time he was at the philadelphia inquirer. he had just been put on a new .eat covering medical business
one day, he was getting blood at the office. andas just something he did a lot of people did. while he was sitting there watching the blood flow out of his arm, he thought to himself, you know, i really don't know what happens to this blood when it leaves my arm. put it in a bag, a bottle, and somewhere, it becomes a commodity? something happens to it. that might make a good little story to do. i am a medical business reporter. he went to his editor, who was also a blood donor, and said, come to think of it, i don't know what goes on. so gil put down his notes about what would you do, go to the local red cross and set up an interview with a guy that has the local office. he sat down with him and said i would like to do a story. did notving blood and i
know where the blood goes. i would like to know a little more about it. what happens to the blood after i give it? what kind of a price do you put on a liter of blood? and the director looked at him and said, why are you asking this question? we don't have to take anything about this. >> that is called a red flag. it as his refer to antenna beginning to wobble. that was the beginning of his decision that he needed to spend some time with this. he had a fellow named jean roberts, who is a legend of the newspaper business and was one of the truly great editors of all time. editor just told him, go for it. you have the time to do this. that's of course is an expense for the newspaper. that person who is supposed to be covering the medical
business, no longer can do those spot stories because he or she has to go out and not follow up on this story. that is the expense of an investigative team that you lose sight of. newspapers first cut back on the most expensive thing they have, the reporter. almost all gone now. and they started cutting back on investigative beats. beat willgative, and come soon. sacha: it can be risky to have a beat reporter to a controversial story because you can end up working a lot of businesses in the process. when we did our stories, there was a discussion on when you bring in a reporter. he will need to maintain longer-term relationships. it is very interesting. what you lose when you don't have that team that doesn't have to worry about the long-term division. roy: that was the fun part of
the book. you do it? i got to go to the reporters and for me, is a 40 year reporter, i was fascinated to find out what michael poore said -- michael paulson felt, not being the point man from the beginning? all ofnot great that this religion reporting was going on all around him while he was covering the church. by the time it was over, he had written more of the stories, or his name was more of the story than anyone. but it took a want to get to that point. >> thinking get very upset because tromping on their turf, it can be awkward when you are tromping on someone's soil. we don't know that much about the church. we may have used the wrong nomenclature. in seeking the deeper story, we may not have used the right terminology.
as one reporter trying to chase the entire team, having to learn all the cap of terminology was quite something. you need a glossary. that a lotorters now of readers don't know. what i hope comes alive in the book, that is, each of these great stories starts with some little germ. some little curiosity and some little basic question. when you go back and do a postmortem on a story, if i -- you find -- i stopped using the word "incredible." people take that literally sometimes. to seen amazing process where a story starts from giving blood to the office. all of the stories i write go back and look at what i call the ah ha moment when some reporter
realizes this story that he or she has been covering every day could be the story of a lifetime. that is what we i think, as need to think to -- keep encouraging. that is what the students want to learn and work with it that is what i was amazed to find that so few of these stories have been told. there is one threat i would liked to bring up when we talk about the finances and the cutbacks and the number of reporters. that is the consolidation of newspapers and news organizations, and sometimes they fall into the hands of philistine business owners. for instance, the owner of the tribune corporation, trying to unloaded when he found that it was not fun anymore, said,
pulitzer, i will not usable over language -- who gives a blank about pulitzers? about them?re that is not important. -- we don'tou then get much affirmation as journalists. we don't make a lot of money. maybe we do if we are brian williams. the rest of us don't. we are working very hard. we love it and we care about it. there is a sense of affirmation is awardedtzer prize in a newsroom, it is just a delirious moment for everyone. it is a moment where you feel like your entire organization has been recognized, particularly those who worked so hard. when the champagne flows, people are crazy. it is not about us versus them.
it is about something good happening. actually quite remarkable. roy: i would liked to open the floor for questions. when elizabeth started talking about a promising thing happening in school, it should be encouraging to know that young people are still studying journalism and trying to learn how they can serve in journalism, whether it is going to be online or in print. the other thing that occurs to me that is very promising is what is called a news literacy movement. it is putting now. -- it is budding now. although still people who do not know the difference between a blog post or something that pops up on their phone from a friend or a fully reported story from a newspaper, there is this movement going on to try to teach students and readers in general, how to evaluate the material that they get. i won't say the news they get, because it may not be news. how do they look at it here it it gives them tools.
the kind of tools that most of of ourned at the knee father or mother. how to read sensibly? a lot of kids don't have that. media is media. if it is flashing, it is true. [laughter] i warned you about that. but the news literacy movement is applying the same kind of discipline to this in journalism school. i think it is a very positive thing. you are here and a lot of positive things. when you saw future of journalism, you probably thought it was people beating each other up. you can do that because you are the audience. are there any questions out there? people always ask me what my favorite story is peered it is light judging what your favorite children is.
any burning question out there? someone is going to a microphone. >> thank you for a hopeful discussion about the future of investigative journalism. what i read about the book, i was expecting to hear the back story of how the prizes are awarded, and if there is controversy, some drama to that? is that in the book? roy: it is in the book. it wasn't something that was driving me at the beginning. i really wanted to tell the stories of the reporting. i found myself getting deeper and deeper into the pulitzer process. i was writing a lot of that for journalist so they see how it works. in thefound was that early days, the middle days of the prizes -- the early days of the prizes, really no one knew what a pulitzer prize was. it is hard to imagine that because we have an image of it. won a pulitzer
prize. in the early days, there was no sense of what a pulitzer prize was. it was remarkable that you could find a story that other editors would say, you did a great job with it. eventually, it became institutionalized. newspapers know about prizes and wanted to start winning them. in the 1940's and 1950's, you began to have real russians raised about -- real questions raised about who was calling the shots? about the guys in ties, the people running it in the 1930's and 1940's. it was not after world war ii you began to have women in the newsroom. and you did have a small group of people making those calls. toelieve they were dedicated picking what they consider to be the best stories of the year and they would fight each other off if they saw that, for example, the system was being gained.
one of the rules was that no publication should win more than two prizes in a year. and they use that against each other. a classic case of that was been bradley, who was on the board when he was at the "washington post" coming in after watergate, sure he was going to have to fight to get watergate to win. a lot of newspapers were not following watergate. without the "washington post" was off on a tangent. people started confessing that it was clear that they had really been on the right track. but, in the late 1970's, there was a reform movement at pulitzer prizes, and my judgment is, and i tried to track this by talking to people inside and out of the organization, was that there was some very strong leaders who performed the pulitzer movement to make sure that it was a diverse group that came from small papers and large papers. the juries were also
diversified. what has come out of it is a very pure kind of committee that exist there now. i think they have a bit of a into theetting dragged modern world of media. but, when it comes to the best stories of the year, they are devoted to making sure that certain qualities are recognized when they mean the prizes. and i think the book does trace how that changes between the 1970's and 1980's, and 1990's. sacha: from your reporting, to what extent that politics infiltrate the process at all? to what extent is it pure merit? roy: i think right now it is pure merit. the only way you will have pure politics is that if the board takes jury recommendations and sit down. there are 14 prizes, one of which is the public service prize.
look at the 14 stories that they are picking, that the juries have it. and they will throughout the ones they overrule and figure that don't belong in the best stories of the year. i would not call that a political decision, i will call that a peer decision. when we have that body of work for the year in front of us, we want to make sure the 14 stories are the top expression of american journalism are the one selected. i think that element of politics is gone. now you have a situation where they don't worry anymore about a publication getting four or five prizes. inhington and what we know 2003, the year of the 9/11 prizes were awarded, the "new seven.mes" won in 2008, the "washington post"
won five. you are probably seeing that more and more if a newspaper really has a fantastic year, more prizes will probably be awarded to more than one publication. elizabeth: it is important to say that there are cases were editors do sit down and plot stories with the hope, the anticipation that it will be a pulitzer prize project. i think the "new york times" does that a lot. they have the quality and skill and it works. sacha: the book gives such an array of the different types of winners. it was really rich and incredibly, a wonderful read, very thorough. trendsetting,was sacha. the lies remembered. lives a -- the
remembered. it was an important win. it is a wonderful reminder you don't have to be a hundred pound gorilla. it gives you a big advantage, but it can be done. we always love the underdog as journalists. roy: there were some underdogs at the "new york times" too. there was another case when i went to the "new york times" and talk to the editors and plant a nation challenge and put together portraits of grief. what i found is that we had an accidental pulitzer there. these were middle level editors, just by call of us, when pressed on a story, and middle level editor who came over from newsday, was told, bring me a treatment of how we handle the victim on the second day after
9/11. if you remember, we didn't know who was dead. we didn't know who was missing. anything, whether it was a couple of thousand, 20,000? you are on the greatest newspaper in the country trying to figure out how to cover this. here is christine, whose job was to me how to cover a victim? portraits of grief began to evolve because he couldn't call them obituaries. they didn't know, living or dead, all they knew is that people were missing. my talk to fact, christina i found out where this came from, he was the flyers that she began to collect. have you seen my husband? have you seen my cousin? windows onoing up to the world.
it was those pamphlets that began to suggest to her that there are ways to do this. she began to develop this 200 word profile, extremely controversial. those who remember profiles of grief remembers the little jewels. they were streaming controversial, including a moment families, who would call and say, why didn't you say that my son was the head of the rotary. well, the article was about how he was a great soccer coach. those articles hammered away at one little element of someone -- life. lkigife.e's woulduld assume the paper have to elect a military movement. they didn't know what the names were coming from. they kind of bubbled up companies.
a wonderful reporter -- usually wrote the stories that we always wished we would have written. and, the oldest regional cable news in the country. in new england cable news, nuts? said, are you it became the model for everything else. it is a website dedicated entirely to foreign news, international. they have correspondence based in all of the countries that are actually practicing journalism in those countries. it is really exciting. intoo -- it made its debut january, so it is still new.
my son was actually working on one of the blogs. i have had a couple of students intern withe to them. it is really exciting. it eliminates the cost of sending correspondents to a country because they are already there. it also eliminates the response of nature -- in other words, a riot takes place, a coup takes place, executions take place -- they are there, they are denote the context, they know the country. they don't have to get -- you know, you forget it, we parachute into this thing, and for 30 seconds become the local leading expert on paraguay, which means we have to cram our brains with this stuff here the people actually in the community , they understand it. they are skilled journalists who
know how to do reporting. sacha: there are a lot of obstacles to just getting here story. roy: it is still an island of insanity, i'm afraid. we have been cutting back so much from when the tribune had staff all over the world, the the l.a. times had staff all over the world. anyway, it didn't used to be that way. i think we really need to push balance that -- the balance that out. my former editor is in hog heaven now because the economist is growing because it can deliver this one the one else's delivering. beer getting an awful lot of news from the associated press, coming from those few reporters out there. elizabeth: we are becoming
progressively more insulated. what we get are the quaint tradition stories -- the oh, my theh my goodness, look at strange habits, instead of someone who actually has some context and knowledge and understands the culture. it is very dangerous, i think, because we don't get enough from here.st of the world >> "washington journal" continues. >> is there a danger that you lack outside eyes on that story? elizabeth: absolutely. particularly in totalitarian regimes, you cannot cover news survey accurately because he will die, or be vanished. that was true in the george w. bush white house -- not die, but
be vanished. you have oversight of editors in this country who can stop and go, what? that may be the moment you send people over. charlie had big tour to go to a bunch of the countries and go and look at the stories from an outsider's perspective. you are quite right. roy: can we take one more question? we are running a little over one hour. > i have a quick mike paulson story. i got a call from springfield, massachusetts. i was up in new hampshire yesterday. they told me to get to the boston globe. there was an article, mike paulson wrote about a dear friend of mine.
in boston, with the sad death of ted kennedy -- sacha: the michael paulson story which would've been on the front page got bumped inside. clergy sexualthe abuse story from a regional thing. kathy shores is a friend from worcester. i made it's one of his columns, and i think it was a resource differential, how the local and howrs were saying worcester, they were not able to complete with the globe in terms of coverage. stories went creaturely -- regionally, to
several dioceses. i think, looking at the new site shawat time, what ca kathy daily, these sources were competing against great sources of communications systems. how does that impact -- my question is how does a major story like that -- how does that impact local stories that are just as significant in other areas? ha: that might have been a story where you had a disadvantage if you were smaller because we needed lawyers. i think what made the story so strong is the paperwork came out of the church's file cabinets. i felt it was impossible for people to have the blame the messenger reaction.
that took some money and legal might. that might be hard to replicate. >> in contrast, sweeney came .rom springfield yet, the spring for newspapers were having a challenge locally to get that information. youabeth: sometimes the way tell it locally -- i know new hampshire, there was some very good reporting. one of the wonderful things globe's extraordinary effort on this was a prompted investigations all over the country. it scared the pants off of the church, as you know. [laughter] that was a really bad analogy. ha: we would occasionally get calls at the quote where people would ask, what is with the
boston?in you just need to get into the filing cabinets. globe see that is worthy, it is worth calling the newspaper. if you things that are worth reporting, call. elizabeth: almost all have e-mail actresses that go directly to editors. cranks.rite out the we used to be able to do that when they would handwrite letters -- really specific handwriting. you can always tell the net utcsaes. no on the phone, we are always receptive.
thing to say, to bring it back to these pulitzer prize winners. while pulitzer prize is are not a political organization in that they are looking for the best stories, they are paying a lot of attention to smaller publications that are doing great work against long odds. the winner last year was the las vegas fund, which is handed out in the middle of the review journal in las vegas. it is a troubled paper. the winner of the prize is a wasrter who actually working on her first assignment, who came over, was given this as to do thisary task story, and they detected that there were an awful lot of people dying at construction sites on the strip, back when
there was a lot of construction on the strip. she investigated this as a young reporter. story into a story that was a terrific winner for this year. that a lot of stories will not be the boston globe type of story or the washington post with walter reed, as wonderful of the story as that was. these are going to be rarer beasts now in this business. the stories that will get more attention are probably going to the discovery of what was going on in las vegas.
,hat is why, people with tips you postal have the mainstream media who will be able to do , andjob in many cases welcome your collaboration. thank you very much for your attention tonight. we do have a discount on the interested inre going back to some of these moments in finding out about the great moments in the history of journalism. i would happy to answer your -- to inscribe that. elizabeth: it is a great read. sacha: really a great read. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> the church committee 40 years later, beginning next week and weekend on american
history tv. we will show the hearings that investigated the fbi, the irs, the nsa intelligence activities. 10:00eekend, saturday at and sunday, 4:00 eastern time only on american history tv on c-span 3. >> this weekend on "the presidency" a discussion with the two men at the center of watergate. alexander butterfield and bob woodward. here is a preview. intimate access to this president. frequently, you were the first staff person to see him in the morning and the last one at night. describe the richard nixon that you saw. thefter the 11th month of first year, in november and
december, the president called thought we should i wase, not change, but -- bonds deputy from the start. he thought that maybe bob was getting sort of, what do i want to say? t toward during the day by all of the trivia that is part of the operation of the oval office through the day. and, not able to sit back and think as president nixon wonders him to do. the president even said, i want you to be more like the assistant president, so let alex take your office and deal with the minute to minute stuff. there was only place for bob to go.
the first vice-president had been given an office inside the oval office -- the last guy you want to get an office to because he has a beautiful office on the hill as president of the senate. bob went over and said, ted, we are going to have to take it back. he only used it for a few ceremonial things, and he was happy to do it. he was a good guy about that. rob took the grand office. discussione entire sunday on c-span three's american history tv. up next, on the civil war, author robert o'connell discusses his book, "fierce patriot: the tangled lives of william tecumseh sherman"." he describes general sherman's life as a roller coaster an