LEONARD PITTS, JR. Biography - Writers


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Leonard Pitts, Jr. joined The Miami Herald in 1991 as its pop music critic.         
Since 1994, he has penned a syndicated column of commentary on pop culture,         
social issues and family life. His book, Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey     
to Fatherhood, was released in May, 1999 and is being reissued in paperback in       
June of 2006.                                                                       
Pitts has been writing professionally since 1976 when, as an 18-year-old college     
student, he began doing freelance reviews and profiles for SOUL, a national         
black entertainment tabloid. Two years later, he was its editor. In the years       
since then, Pitts' work has appeared in such publications as Musician, Spin, TV     
Guide, Reader's Digest and Parenting. In addition, he wrote, produced and           
syndicated "Who We Are," an award-winning 1988 radio documentary on the history     
of Black America, and has written and produced numerous other radio programs on     
subjects as diverse as Madonna and Martin Luther King, Jr. Pitts was also a         
writer for radio's popular countdown program, Casey's Top 40 with Casey Kasem.       
Pitts was awarded the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary. He was also a finalist     
for the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. In 1997, Pitts took first place for commentary       
in division four (newspapers with a circulation of over 300,000) in the American     
Association of Sunday and Feature Editors' Ninth Annual Writing Awards               
competition. The Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association       
of Black Journalists and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, among others, have honored     
him. He is a five-time recipient of the National Headliners Award. In 2001, he       
received the American Society of Newspaper Editors prestigious ASNE Award For       
Commentary Writing and was named Feature of the Year Columnist by Editor and         
Publisher magazine. In 2002, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists           
awarded Pitts its inaugural Columnist of the Year award. Also in 2002, GLAAD         
Media awarded Pitts the Outstanding Newspaper Columnist award.                       
In 2003 and 2004, Pitts was a visiting professor teaching journalism at Hampton     
University in Hampton, Virginia. In 2005-2006 he was a journalism professor at       
Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and at Virginia Commonwealth University in           
Richmond, Virginia. Twice each week, millions of newspaper readers around the       
country seek out his rich and uncommonly resonant voice. In a word, he connects     
with them. Nowhere was this demonstrated more forcefully than in the response to     
his initial column on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Pitts' column, "We'll Go           
Forward From This Moment," an angry and defiant open letter to the terrorists,       
circulated the globe via the Internet. It generated upwards of 30,000 emails,       
and has since been set to music, reprinted in poster form, read on television by     
Regis Philbin and quoted by Congressman Richard Gephardt as part of the             
Democratic Party's weekly radio address.