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LEN PITTS TO ADDRESS NEWS MEDIA GROUP

June 11, 2001 – While syndicated newspaper columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. is in the territory this week to discuss fatherhood issues in connection with the second annual Fathers' Night Out, he will address the V.I. News Association on the topic of "Diversity in the News Media."
At noon Friday, he will be the association's guest for a luncheon meeting at Chickie's Place in Frenchtown on St. Thomas. Starting at 12:30 p.m., there will be a teleconference hookup with the WSVI/Channel 8 studio on St. Croix for interactive participation by attendees on both islands.
Pitts joined The Miami Herald in 1991 as its pop music critic. Since 1994, he has been writing a commentary column on social issues, family live and pop culture for the paper. He also has a radio production background – as producer of "Who We Are," an award-winning documentary series on black American history, and as a writer for the network radio show "Casey’s Top 40 with Casey Kasem." He also has written and produced radio programs on subjects as diverse as Madonna and Martin Luther King Jr.
Today, Pitts' twice-weekly column appears in 150 newspapers, including both of the territory's print dailies. He has been honored by the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, and he was a finalist for a 1992 Pulitzer Prize.
Although he has continued to write for The Miami Herald, he and his family moved in 1995 from Miami to Bowie, Md., where he now resides.
Anyone looking for journalist solidarity from Pitts might find it in his comment in an online chat room interview with young people that "the worst thing in the world is to write a column, have it come out, and then realize that you no longer agree with what you wrote." And if you want a concrete example, ask him about his Sammy Sosa/Mark McGuire piece a couple of years ago.
The St. Thomas luncheon is $25 and is open to anyone interested in the news media. Reservations are required and must be received by 5 p.m. Wednesday. To make them, call Norita Lee at 775-9112.
There's no charge to attend the St. Croix session, but because of limited space, reservations also are requested. To make them, call Will Jones at 773-2300.

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