Pulitzer Prize-winning author to speak in Columbia Wednesday night

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COLUMBIA - A former Pulitzer Prize winner will speak tonight at the University of Missouri.

Leonard Pitts Jr. will be speaking at the Missouri School of Journalism in Fisher Auditorium located in Gannet Hall.

Executive Director of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, Randy Picht, said the event drew a lot of attention early.

“We put an ad in the Columbia Tribune to just, you know, let people know he was coming, and the next day, so that was a Sunday, the next day we had 140 people that had RSVP’d and we had to move it to a bigger venue,” Picht said.

The talk is all a part of the Institute's Politics and Press Responsibility Series - and there should be a lot of talking points, especially in an election year.

“I suspect he’s going to talk a fair amount about that, and also have some hefty doses of talking about Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton,” Picht said.

Pitts Jr.’s home paper is the Miami Herald, and he also has a column which runs nationwide twice a week, allowing people to read his writing from all over the country.

“I think it’s really cool since the journalism school is so big here that we get to hear from someone that’s accomplished so much in the journalism world and maybe learn something from what he’s done out in the real world,” MU Student, Lexi Larson, said.

Pitts Jr. is also someone the Institute has been hoping would come for awhile.

“I’m sure there’s lots of folks in Columbia that read his column and say, you know, that’s exactly what I was thinkin', and so I’ve been hoping to have home come and talk in some capacity,” Picht said.

Event attendees can park for free at Hitt St. garage.

Though the event has sold out, those who did not register can still attend both a reception before the talk, and a book signing after. The talk will also be streamed live online on RJI’s website.

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