Mike Pride, Who Proved a Regional Newspaper Could Work, Dies at 76

From 2014 to 2017, Mr. Pride served as the administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes; he was the first and only former Pulitzer juror and board member (he was its co-chairman in 2008) to hold that position. He recruited a more diverse jury and opened the competitions to online and print magazines.

“He taught us the power of words, and how to wield them judiciously, but without fear,” said Jo Becker, who worked at The Monitor and later became a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for The New York Times.

“His ambitions for us were certainly beyond our actual abilities back then,” she added. “But that was his gift. He believed in us, and somehow he made us believe that we were capable of meeting the high bar he set.”

Charles Michael Pride was born on July 31, 1946, in Bridgeport, Conn. His father, Charles, held various jobs, from selling cars to designing cemeteries. His mother, Bernadine (Nordstrom) Pride, was a county clerk and a homemaker. The family moved to Clearwater, Fla., when Mike was 2.

He got his first byline at 14 after his cousin Ron Pride, a sports editor for The Tampa Tribune, recruited him to cover a high school track meet. After flunking out of the University of Florida in 1966, Mr. Pride enlisted in the Army, learned Russian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., and was deployed to West Germany. There, he intercepted hints that the Soviet Union was about to invade Czechoslovakia — an intelligence coup that a skittish senior officer filed away without forwarding it urgently.

After he was discharged, Mr. Pride was hired as a sports reporter at The Tribune. He worked nights, which enabled him to earn a bachelor’s degree during the day at the University of South Florida in 1972. After graduation, he was hired by The Clearwater Sun, where he eventually became city editor. He later took a job at The Tallahassee Democrat, and he was working as an editor there when he was recruited by The Monitor’s publisher.

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