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Pat Stith and the theme park

November 17, 2008

Capitolbeat 2008 in Raleigh ended on an inspirational note Saturday night when Pulitzer Prize winner Pat Stith gave the keynote address for our annual awards banquet.

Here’s how he ended his prepared remarks:

“And finally, we ought not respect people too much. We should be courteous to everyone, regardless of his or her station in life. We ought to respect people, but not too much.

“Title, experience, wealth, age, are not decisive. Some people we deal with are right smart. But we’re capable of learning enough about what they’ve done or haven’t done to thoroughly test them.

“So don’t back off when the person you’re dealing with has a better education than you do, or is older or more experienced. Don’t throw in the towel just because they have an impressive title.

“Don’t respect them too much, you’re pretty smart yourself.”

Click the following player to listen to Stith’s prepared remarks.
(17 minutes)

If you’re not from North Carolina, click on this link to find out why he’s a legend here.

The title of Stith’s speech was “Beyond Error Free Reporting.” It was a call to do more than accurately report facts, but to ensure all the facts in our stories serve the truth and our readers and viewers. He also re-affirmed how far one can get simply by applying the basic tenets of the journalism profession: fairness, doggedness, accuracy and inquisitiveness.

Stith then sat down with Stateline.org Managing Editor Barbara Rosewicz for a Q+A session. Among her first questions was why someone who had a broad investigative mandate spent so much time looking into state government.

Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Pat Stith talks with Stateline.org's Barbara Rosewicz during Capitolbeat 2008.

Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Pat Stith talks with Stateline.org's Barbara Rosewicz.

“I really didn’t mean to. I left Charlotte, I left the afternoon paper, and at that time I intended to come to Raleigh for two years and then try to get a job in Atlanta … But once I got here, it’s like a – State government is like a theme park for investigative reporters. I could never leave,” Stith said.

Click the following link to listen to Stith field questions.
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Capitolbeat thanks Stith for sharing his wit, wisdom and sense of mission.

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