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Pulitzer-winning Book Examines Media and Civil Rights Movement

Authors Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff discuss their Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "The Race Beat," which examines the role of journalists in alerting the country to the problems of segregation and the civil rights movement.

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    The press, other than black newspapers and a handful of liberal southern editors, simply didn't recognize racism in America as a story, so write the authors of a book that tells how the media first ignored a major problem in American society, and then rallied to alert the nation to the great changes unfolding in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s.

    The book, "The Race Beat," has won this year's Pulitzer Prize for history. Its authors are Gene Roberts, who himself covered the story and much else in a long and distinguished journalism career that included 18 years as executive editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He's now a journalism professor at the University of Maryland.

    His co-author is Hank Klibanoff, managing editor for news at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    Welcome, and congratulations to you.

    HANK KLIBANOFF, Winner, Pulitzer Prize for History: Thank you.

    GENE ROBERTS, Winner, Pulitzer Prize for History: Thank you.


    Starting with you, Mr. Roberts, you were yourself a participant. Why did you want to tell this story in a book?


    Quite simply, I thought the race story was probably the most important domestic story in America in the 20th century. And the press's roll in it, for good or bad, depending on your viewpoint, never had been told.