Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Before Tom Hanks Movie, Charlie Wilson Aided Paper's Pulitzer

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Before Tom Hanks Movie, Charlie Wilson Aided Paper's Pulitzer

Article excerpt

Before former Congressman Charlie Wilson got involved in a covert CIA operation in Afghanistan, depicted in the current film, "Charlie Wilson's War," he played a major role in helping a small Texas newspaper garner attention that led to its winning the Pulitzer Prize for public service.

The Lufkin (Tex.) News took home the coveted Gold Medal prize in 1977 for its probe into the death of a local Marine who died during training. The investigation actually began after the paper ran an obituary of Private Lynn "Bubba" McClure, who died from injuries during training at a San Diego base, according to Roy J. Harris, author of the new book, "Pulitzer's Gold: Behind the Prize for Public Service Journalism."

After the News broke the story of McClure's death and the questionable training practices that went into it, Wilson, whose congressional district included Lufkin, launched a congressional investigation into such training practices that eventually led to changes in recruiting policies.

"The Pulitzer citation said that the Lufkin News had achieved changes in training," Harris said. …

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