ETSPJ Honors Walter Pulliam

Lisa Hood Skinner and Walter Pulliam
Lisa Hood Skinner and Walter Pulliam

The East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists honored centenarian and longtime newspaperman Walter Pulliam at a luncheon November 7, 2013. More than 20 guests joined Mr. Pulliam at The Orangery and listened as he shared defining moments in his life and career.

During the event, members of ETSPJ presented Mr. Pulliam with a copy of The Autobiography of Mark Twain and a birthday cake.

Mr. Pulliam, a Knoxville native, was a Harriman publisher and resident for many years.

Pulliam began what would be an almost 80-year career in 1925 as a carrier for the Knoxville Dispatch and then the Knoxville Free Press. He was in grade school. Later he went to work for The West Knoxville News and then The Knoxville Times.

Jean Ash and Walter Pulliam
Jean Ash and Walter Pulliam

He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1932 with a degree in English and history and took a job as a copy editor for The Knoxville Journal. He soon moved to The Knoxville News-Sentinel as a reporter. In 1938, his employer sent him to the nation’s capital to cover a press conference with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the White House.

In December 1941, after Pearl Harbor, Pulliam joined the Army and eventually was with the Stars & Stripes Mediterranean edition. After the war, he resumed working at the News-Sentinel.

In 1946, he joined The Washington Post. But in the early 1950s, he bought The Harriman Record. Later he bought The LaFollette Press, Jellico Advance-Sentinel and The Lake City Town Crier.

The newpaperman served as Tennessee Press Association president in 1965-66 and was instrumental in founding the Tennessee Newspaper Hall of Fame at UT. He served 25 years on the Tennessee State Historical Commission. For many years he collected historic editions of newspapers, which he donated to Lincoln Memorial University in June 2012.

He has been a member of ETSPJ since its founding.

Since 1970, Pulliam has been married to Julia Brownlow of Columbia. They make their home at Shannondale Retirement Center.

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