LOU CANNON, often called a "reporter's reporter" by colleagues, is best known for his writing about presidents and for three biographies of Ronald Reagan, whom he has known since 1965. Cannon grew up in Nevada and California and worked for six newspapers in these states before joining The Washington Post in 1972. During his twenty-six years with The Post, he covered politics and the White House, wrote a syndicated column, and served as Los Angeles bureau chief. Cannon won numerous awards, including one from the American Political Science Association for "distinguished reporting of public affairs," the Aldo Beckman award for overall excellence in presidential coverage, the Merriman Smith award for excellence in deadline reporting, and the Gerald R. Ford Prize for lifetime achievement in "distinguished reporting on the presidency."
His first book about Reagan, Ronnie and Jesse ( 1969) was called "the best book about state government" by John Leonard in The New York Times. His 1977 book, Reporting. An Inside View, was praised as "the best volume on reporting" by Robert Kirsch in the Los Angeles Times. His 1998 social history, Official Negligence: How Rodney King and the Riots Changed Los Angeles and the LAPD, was described as "the definitive work of modern Los Angeles" by Jim Newton in the Los Angeles Times. Garry Wills called it "a classic we Americans shall long be returning to in order to understand ourselves."
Cannon, who attended the University of Nevada ( Reno) and San Francisco State College, was Raznick Distinguished Lecturer in the history department of the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1995 and Freedom Forum journalist in residence at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California in 1996. He is a contributing editor to the nonpartisan California Journal.
Cannon has four children and six grandchildren. He and his wife Mary live in Summerland, California, near Santa Barbara.