Hedrick L. Smith
By Andrea Burnett, class of 2003
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, author and executive producer Hedrick Smith has spent more than 40 years as a journalist, during which time he has used his experience abroad to help cultivate a portfolio that includes both documentaries and best-selling books.
Smith began his career with the Greenville (S.C.) News. After completing his degree at Williams College and doing graduate work at Oxford University, Smith moved to a position at United Press International in 1959.
In 1962 Smith moved to The New York Times and served as a correspondent in Washington, Cairo, Moscow, Paris, Saigon and the U.S. In 1971 Smith was chief diplomatic correspondent on the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that produced the "Pentagon Papers" series in the Times. He also co-authored a subsequent book on the subject. In 1974 he won another Pulitzer, this time for international reporting from Russia and Eastern Europe.
After 26 years at the Times, Smith left in 1988 and began creating a PBS documentary series that was modeled after his best-selling book, "The Power Game: How Washington Works."
Since 1990 Smith has been the executive producer for more than 20 PBS documentaries and hosted 15 award-winning specials and mini-series. His documentaries have focused on a variety of issues, such as school violence, Soviet perestroika, Washington's power game and the global economy.
Smith has received numerous accolades, including the 1996 William Allan White Award, the 1999 Sigma Delta Chi award for Seeking Solutions and the George Peabody award for Soviets. In 2000 his pre-election special on health care, Critical Condition With Hedrick Smith, was nominated for an Emmy.
Smith has written best-selling books, including "The Russians" in 1976, "The New Russians" in 1990 and "Rethinking America" in 1995. He was seen on PBS as a panelist on Washington Week in Review for 25 years and as a special correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
His production company, Hedrick Smith Productions, continues to create award-winning specials for PBS. Smith also can be seen nationwide giving speeches about his work and life experiences.
"Journalists cover words and delude themselves into thinking they have committed journalism." — Hedrick Smith, Cole's Quotables