March 13, 2023

S5E1: Barbara Walsh – Pulitzer Prize Winning Teller Of Stories That Need To Be Told

S5E1: Barbara Walsh – Pulitzer Prize Winning Teller Of Stories That Need To Be Told

A Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, Barbara Walsh started her career in Galway as a newspaper photographer and has gone on to work for newspapers and magazines in Florida, Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire.  

While at the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, Barbara reported on the notorious murderer William Horton Jr. and Massachusetts’ flawed prison furlough system, a series that played a crucial role in the U.S. Presidential election where George H. W. Bush defeated Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis, changed Massachusetts sentencing laws, and won a Pulitzer Prize for General News Reporting in 1988.

“The Horton story also taught me that journalists have tremendous power and responsibility to inform, to tell stories that need to be told,” she said.

A raft of other journalism awards would follow, as would several children’s books, one illustrated by renowned artist Jamie Wyeth.

But she faced the most challenging story of her life when she asked her father about his childhood pain. The process led to heartrending odysseys: one into a deadly Newfoundland hurricane and the lives of schooner fishermen, mostly of Irish descent, who relied on God and the wind to carry them home; the other, into a squall stirred by a man with many secrets, a grandfather who remained a mystery until long after his death, all captured in her book August Gale.

We talk about how as a child she preferred writing over talking, how she rebounded from failing her final college journalism paper, her dread of deadlines, the state of journalism today, the Irish experience in Newfoundland, her connection to her Irish heritage, her travels to Ireland, and the two “guardian angels” she met on the ferry to Belfast who diverted her from a perilous path.




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· August Gale: A Father and Daughter's Journey into the Storm on