Atlanta Pulitzer Prize winner George Goodwin dies at 97

Credit: AJC File

Credit: AJC File

Published Jan. 21, 2015

The only journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize in the history of The Atlanta Journal has died, according to reports. George Evans Goodwin was 97.

When his journalism career ended, Goodwin transitioned to public relations, becoming a civic leader who helped guide the future of Atlanta.

In late 1946, Goodwin went to Telfair County to learn how Herman Talmadge had won a recount in a special election for governor after initially finishing third. County officials came up with 48 write-in votes for Talmadge that weren’t counted the first time, and the rural-dominated state legislature then declared Talmadge governor.

Goodwin, examining a list of the 48 voters, noted that the last 34 were recorded in alphabetical order and later determined that many were dead. The state Supreme Court rejected Talmadge’s claim to the governorship.

The series of stories exposing vote fraud in the governor’s race earned Goodwin, then a 29-year-old City Hall reporter, the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting.

Then, in 1952, Goodwin walked away from the business and helped transform public relations, becoming a civic leader.

Goodwin said in 2006 that the Pulitzer gave him “entre, access to people and things I might not have gotten otherwise.” But that came with a price. No matter what he did afterward, he said, his work as a young reporter is how he will be remembered.

“Those will be the first three words of my obituary,” he said. “Pulitzer Prize winner.”

In 2012, Goodwin was inducted into the Atlanta Press Club’s Hall of Fame.

Read an expanded obituary of George E. Goodwin