Former ‘Monitor’ editor Mike Pride retires from Pulitzer board

Monitor staff
Published: 3/25/2017 10:33:27 PM

Mike Pride is retiring again, and this time he plans to keep it that way.

The Monitor’s longtime editor, who retired from the newspaper in 2008, announced recently he’s leaving his post as administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes. He wants to return to writing books, giving lectures and enjoying his grandchildren, which he did for six years during his initial retirement.

But when the organization that hands out the most prestigious honor in journalism lobbied for him to apply for its job in 2014, Pride couldn’t resist.

He’s been working at Pulitzer headquarters at Columbia University in New York City for three years. He and his wife, Monique, plan to return to New Hampshire, where he carved out a niche as one of the top small-paper editors in the country, running the Monitor newsroom for 25 years.

“I don’t think anyone could offer me a job this time that I would take,” Pride, 70, said by phone Wednesday. “I don’t think there is a job that I want. I took this job because they kept asking and I thought it through and applied. There were not many jobs that could have convinced me to cave in and say ‘I’m willing to change my life for this job.’ ”

Pride’s run as Pulitzer administrator ends this summer. He oversaw the organization’s juries and boards, both of which are involved in choosing the winners in journalism, letters, drama and music.

Despite being 67 when he accepted the job, Pride was called upon to launch a new era in digital exposure and presentation. He supervised the redesign of the Pulitzer website, which included highlights from the organization’s centennial celebration last year.

“We’re trying to use the web the way the web should be used,” Pride said. “I have people who work for me who live in that world, so I depend on them for those things, just like we all depend on our grandchildren to show us how to work our phones. But conceptually, I totally get it.”

Under Pride’s leadership and in conjunction with the 100-year anniversary, the Pulitzer website added a content stream that includes the work from past winners.

“It’s some of the best journalism that has ever been done in the country,” Pride said. “It shows the history of it all. It’s 100 years of great work.”

In the works is a digital archive featuring the work of other Pulitzer winners, a project that will take years and include video interviews with some of the all-time great journalists.

“What we were attempting to do was keep it a little more dynamic than it was before,” Pride said. “We’re working toward an archive that I think will be pretty fantastic once we get it done. At this point we have 40 or 50 winners that still have not been edited and posted on our website.”

Pride took the job knowing the Pulitzer’s 100th anniversary would be the focus of his duties. He worked with the Federation of State Humanities Councils, universities and news organizations to coordinate about 200 to 300 presentations in 44 states, plus the District of Columbia and Guam, each bringing attention to the proud history of both the Pulitzer organization and journalism.

It’s an industry that Pride believes still has value, despite the decline of newspapers since the growth of the internet, and the recent accusations by President Donald Trump that “fake news” is part of the mainstream media.

“One of the things I see from my job is just how much terrific journalism is still being done in this country, and how many great journalists are at work and turning out material,” Pride said. “It shows up in a lot of places that I didn’t know much about before I took the job. Great investigative reporting websites and there are grant funded journalism organizations that are web based that are making a difference.”

Pride got back into the reporting game in 2007, when he chose to move into the newsroom to spend what he thought would be his final year of work before retiring. Felice Belman, who has since taken a job at the Boston Globe, replaced Pride as the Monitor’s top editor.

Pride covered everything from national politics to high school graduations. He retired in 2008 and was given a giant send-off, with Pulitzer winners and other giants of the industry, all of whom had learned under his leadership in Concord, returning to town to honor him.

Over the next six years, Pride wrote three books, each about his favorite topic: history. He wrote about Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War and World War II, settling into his weekend-lake home to do the bulk of his writing. He also had a home in Concord.

By then, Pride had been named the National Press Foundation’s Editor of the Year for his work as the Monitor’s editor during the Challenger disaster, which claimed the life of Concord High teacher Christa McAuliffe. He also helped the Monitor win the New England Newspaper of the Year Award 19 times, and in 2008, saw it become the first newspaper in the state to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Pride returned to the Monitor briefly in 2014 to help with an editorial transition period before leaving for New York City. His experience on four Pulitzer juries and nine Pulitzer boards made him a prime candidate for the job.

His latest retirement begins at the end of July, this time after a grueling year in which he said it felt like he was “working two jobs” because of the Pulitzer centennial and all the planning that went into it.

“When it ended late last year, I looked at it and said it will get easier for me from here on out,” Pride said. “Then I looked and said, ‘This is my third year. Do I want to do this job continuously, or have more time to control and write more and work on my history projects?’ ”

“After six years of great retirement living, I want to return to that life.”

Ray Duckler bio photo

Ray Duckler, our intrepid columnist, focuses on the Suncook Valley. He floats from topic to topic, searching for the humor or sadness or humanity in each subject. A native New Yorker, he loves the Yankees and Giants. The Red Sox and Patriots? Not so much.

Stay informed with our free email updates
Concord Monitor Daily Headlines
Concord Monitor Breaking News
Concord Monitor Dining & Entertainment
Concord Monitor Report For America Education
Concord Monitor Report For America Health
Concord Monitor Real Estate
Concord Monitor Sports
Concord Monitor Suncook Valley
Concord Monitor Contests & Promotions
Concord Monitor Weekly Most Popular
Concord Monitor Granite Geek
Concord Monitor Monitor Marquee
Concord Monitor Hopkinton
Concord Monitor Politics
Concord Monitor MY CONCORD
Concord Monitor Franklin

Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301


© 2021 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy

Customer Service

Social Media


View All Sections

Part of the Newspapers of New England Family