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“The real inside story of the most serious journalism of the last century
and a brilliant portrait of America.” —Bob Woodward

A Century of Public Service Journalism

What The Pulitzer’s Gold Academic Reviews Say

Perhaps most viscerally, Harvard's Nieman Reports (Fall '08) describes Pulitzer's Gold as “crammed with the kind of details that are like heroin for hard-core news addicts.” It goes on: “Pulitzer's Gold is a newshound’s ‘story behind the story.’ It's all about the people who made great news and who made the news business great. 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.”

Says a Journalism History review in 2018, author Harris “uses the pages of (his newest) edition to show how journalists, despite changes in technology, are using time-tested reporting methods of checking and rechecking, to produce stories that change history.”

“[A] fine contribution to both scholarship and instruction, a book that can be read for fun, consulted for research, and assigned for class,” says Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. The “inspirational” book is filled with "case studies of sensitive, painstaking fact gathering, interviewing, document searches, computer analyses, and tenacious [FOIA] filings."

It “could easily serve as a supplement in history or in media and society courses,” the review says, but “also has much to teach students about journalistic techniques, and …would work well as a supplement for basic and advanced reporting.Further, author and former Wall Street Journal reporter Roy Harris’ “original interviews with writers, editors, and Pulitzer judges … add human interest, insight, and backstage drama that transform the book from an archive into an up-to-date testimonial to the challenges and rewards of journalism at the peak.” (JM&C, July '09, pp. 230-3.)

Journalism & Mass Communication Educator followed in 2010 (Vol. 65, No. 2, pp. 190-193): “The author admirably fulfills the need for a history of the profession's best efforts to act as watchdog and protector of the civic good [and] provides a balanced assessment of the award's mistakes and deficits as well as its successes. The book will be a welcome addition to the reading lists of upper-division courses in journalism history and reporting.”

Well researched and informative, this detailed historical account of newspaper excellence will be of interest to teachers and students of journalism…offering them a collection of case studies that can easily be used in the classroom“ says H-Net's Jhistory (March 2010.) “Talking about the work of the best of journalism helps students better understand how the news makes sense. Harris draws on his extensive experience as a journalist [and] skillfully illustrates team strategies and newsroom organization, showing how award-winning coverage has been planned, researched, organized, and written across time.... Pulitzer’s Gold is excellent material for teaching reflective journalists, but it is also a good history read, attractive to anyone interested in journalism, newspapers, and the press’s importance in the workings of democracy.”

The “compelling and engrossing” focus on a century of stories behind the stories, adds American Journalism (Spring '09, pp. 118-9), means students “will find it extremely valuable as they study the craft of journalism and consider what it means to be a journalist in today's world.“

“There is an unmistakable continuity in these stories, particularly in the focus on the expose,” says Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism magazine. “Many scholars have argued that aside from the Watergate era and the muckraking period, there was little investigative reporting taking place in the 20th century. Harris's research, however, reveals that investigative reporting has been a persistent force in American journalism.... Harris's book is solidly researched, well organized and well written. And for scholars, it will prove valuable for pointing the way to new avenues of inquiry regarding journalistic practice over the last century.”

“The book could serve as a pep talk to journalists considering getting out of the newspaper business,” says The Newspaper Research Journal (Winter 2009.) “The stories are truly inspirational, and the book's major contribution is the spotlight it shines on how dedication to basic reporting mushroomed into major investigations and changes in society....”

Says Columbia Journalism Review: “With newspapers in apparent, highly publicized decline, this volume serves as a reminder of just how effective superior journalism can be.”

“As an act of story-telling, this book is a real accomplishment,” says Mass Communication and Society (2011, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 396-400). “The author delivers on his promise to tell how teams of reporters and editors (as well as photographers and, increasingly in recent years, graphic specialists) have struggled to win the highest prize.” The review adds: “In a single volume, scholars and students can learn about the resources, skills, and (yes, to use an old-fashioned term) character that went into the winning entries. Clear and engaging, Pulitzer's Gold will be an informative book for the many journalists who do not know the history of the field [while] many students of journalism will find the book to be a source of inspiration and material for term papers.”

If you are a university journalism professor, there’s a place for Pulitzer’s Gold in your program.

NOTE TO TEACHERS: Here are the answers to Quiz questions from the Study Guide section of this Website:

Ch 1. B, C, A, False, A.
Ch 2. B, A, B, True, C.
Ch 3. D, B, A, C, True.
Ch 4. D, B, B, B, C.
Ch 5. A, C, C, C, False.
Ch 6. C, True, A, True, D.
Ch 7. D, False, D, False, C.
Ch 8. A, D, A, B, False.
Ch 9. B, A, D, A, True.

Ch. 10 True, C, B, C, True.
Ch. 11 C, False, True, A, A.
Ch. 12 C. False, False, B, A.
Ch. 13 D, B, A, A, D.
Ch. 14 B, False, D, True, True.
Ch. 15 B, D, A, False, C.
Ch. 16 A, False, C, A, False.

Ch. 17. B, False, True, C, False.
Ch. 18. A, D, B, False, False.
Ch. 19. B, A, A, D, D.
Ch. 20. A, D, False, True, C.
Ch. 21. A, True, True, True, D.

Pulitzer’s Gold: A Century of Public Service Journalism, may be ordered through Columbia University Press at It is also available from