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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

Roy Harris in an interview at the National Press Foundation

Roy Harris talks about how his book Pulitzer's Gold examines the shocking Boston Globe reports on the Catholic Church coverup of priest sexual abuse of youngsters – the journalism that was the basis for the 2016 Oscar-winning movie Spotlight. The 2016 interview was with Chris Adams of the National Press Foundation.

Click here for the entire interview on the National Press Foundation website.

The Author

Robin Chan/The Hingham Journal

Roy J. Harris Jr.

Roy Harris has been a journalist for some of the nation's most respected news publications for four decades. He reported for The Wall Street Journal from 1971 to 1994, acting for six years as deputy chief of its 14-member Los Angeles bureau. For the next 13 years he was senior editor for The Economist Group's Boston-based CFO magazine. While at CFO he also served for a time as national president of the American Society of Business Publication Editors, and he remains president emeritus of its not-for-profit ASBPE Foundation. In 2002 he began researching and writing Pulitzer's Gold, and started contributing regularly about the journalism prizes to the website of the St. Petersburg, Florida-based Poynter Institute. The entire archive of bylined articles on the Poynter website can be found here. His work has earned him praise from Bob Woodward as “the master historian of the Pulitzer Prize.”

The son of a Pulitzer-winning reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Harris began his career working summers as a copyboy and later a reporter for the Post-Dispatch. In college, he served as managing editor of the Daily Northwestern while attending Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. After graduation he took a job reporting for the Los Angeles Times, where one of his assignments was helping cover the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

At the invitation of the Pulitzer organization at the beginning of the 2016 centennial, Roy Harris wrote an article on the Harris family's Pulitzer Prize history, accessible by clicking here.

After being posted by the U.S. Army to Germany, where he edited a battalion newspaper, Harris returned to Northwestern to earn his masters degree, and then joined the Journal in Pittsburgh, covering the aluminum industry. In 1974 he moved to the West Coast for the Journal and took over coverage of the aerospace beat, while also 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 devastating 1994 Northridge earthquake.

In 2002 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. Thus, the research began that led, six years later, to the first edition of Pulitzer's Gold.

Harris lives in Hingham, Massachusetts, with his wife Eileen Carol McIntyre. He has two sons, David McKenna Harris and R. J. Harris III, and a stepson, Jesse D. Laymon.