Gene Roberts was in good hands when he started working in newspapers – his father’s.
“My earliest memories are of the newspaper business,” said the Eastern North Carolina native, 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.”
Students in ECU’s School of Communication were in good hands, too, when Roberts, longtime reporter and editor at newspapers ranging from the Goldsboro News-Argus to The New York Times, shared his experiences with them as a Visiting Scholar on Oct. 22 through the 24th.
Roberts met with SOC classes during his visit and was the keynote speaker at the school’s annual High School Media Workshop on Oct. 22. In addition, he was the guest of honor at a reception at Emerge Art Gallery in Greenville.
In addition to serving as a national and foreign correspondent at the Times, Roberts had stints as its national editor and managing editor. As executive editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer from 1972 to 1990, he supervised a reporting staff that won 17 Pulitzer Prizes. He also won a Pulitzer Prize for history with co-author Hank Klibanoff in 2007 for the book “The Race Beat,” a chronicle of the press and the Civil Rights era, and has chaired the Pulitzer Prize board. Roberts, who earned a B.A. in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1954, also taught at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.