Pulitzer Winner to High School Students: ‘Look for Stories That You Can’t Put Down’

The journalism credentials of this particular East Carolina University visiting scholar are hard to beat. During Gene Roberts’ 18 years as executive editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the paper won 17 Pulitzers.

The East Carolina native is also an author and former national and managing editor of the New York Times. Given how he was weaned, it’s no surprise that he went on to such an illustrious print media career:

“My earliest memories are of the newspaper business,” said Roberts, whose father was a teacher, minister and newspaper publisher. “My father printed the weekly newspaper on a flatbed press and he used to hold me up in his arms and I would shove the paper into the press sheet by sheet.”

Roberts kicked off his brief Oct. 22-24 tenure at ECU by speaking yesterday morning to a lucky group of high school media workshop pupils. According to The Daily Reflector, his advice included finding stories that “they can’t put down” and being prepared for “painstaking writing and rewriting until it comes across as a simple but vivid story.”

This month’s other ECU School of Communications visiting scholars are publicist Ashley Boarman and freelance journalist Brandon Sneed.