Award-winning Tribune writer shares reporting techniques

By Jennifer McCabe

Pulitzer Prize winner William Gaines from the Chicago Tribune will lead discussions in journalism on Wednesday and Thursday.

From 3:30 to 5 p.m. Wednesday in DuSable 204, Gaines will give a presentation on “Post-Watergate Investigative Reporting and a Look to the Future.”

On Thursday, Gaines will speak to several journalism classes on investigative reporting followed by a lunch with The Northern Star staff and a final presentation at 2 p.m. in Reavis 210 on “Consumer-Directed Investigative Reporting.”

The discussions will be open to everyone.

“I hope it is the start of a whole string of top of the line pros like him coming to campus,” said Jerry Thompson, the adviser for the Star.

“We have to thank Jean Davidson, as the last visiting adviser, who went back to the Tribune and mentioned her experience here. It is really her helping us (the journalism department and the Star) plug in,” Thompson said.

Davidson was helpful in getting Gaines for the journalism department, said Daniel Riffe, journalism department chair.

“She is an alumna here and she went through the classes so she knows what the students are interested in listening to,” Riffe said.

Gaines’ journalism experience began when he was in college and the Army. He started at the Tribune in 1963. He also has written a book for college journalists titled, “Investigative Reporting for Print and Broadcast.”

Gaines was awarded his first Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for exposing poor patient care in some Chicago hospitals, and his second in 1988 for a series on corruption in the Chicago City Council.

“I know Dan Riffe would like to get up as many visitors like this as he can. And the Pulitzer Prize says it all. That’s the top journalistic prize in this country and here’s a guy with two of them,” Thompson said.

He also has won five William Jones Investigative Reporting awards and an Illinois Associated Press award.

Before joining the Tribune he worked for the Chicago Daily News, and as a radio announcer and television reporter in Kalamazoo, Mich., as well as in Gary and Hammond, Ind.

While Gaines was in the Army, he produced a weekly news documentary program for Armed Forces Radio in Germany.

Gaines graduated from Butler University in Indianapolis, with a degree in broadcasting and worked as an announcer and newscaster.

Gaines and his family live in a south suburb of Munster, Ind.