Hazel Brannon Smith: a portrait of the journalist as a young woman
This historical study spans the years 1932-1935 when Hazel Brannon Smith, the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing, attended The University of Alabama. Here she studied journalism, a first step toward realizing her goal of owning her own newspaper. In order to gain a better understanding of how a very provincial and traditional southern young woman was transformed into a trail-blazing history-maker, her influences will be examined and her college journalism sifted for patterns, evidence of shapes and of shaping, signs of influence and confluence related to her time on UA's college newspaper, The Crimson-White. I sought to locate Brannon Smith amidst the trajectory of American journalism and in order to do this I first had to sketch the cultures of place, journalism, and journalism education. Primary sources and documents comprised the bulk of my research. They included newspapers, course catalogs, yearbooks, memoirs, documentaries, government files, court case transcripts, personal interviews, and personal correspondence and papers. Videotaped interviews along with face-to-face encounters, and telephone conversations also contributed. I was able to examine the original editions of the Crimson-White from 1932 to 1935, numerous original copies of the Durant News, and the Lexington Advertiser. The Etowah Observer, the Etowah Daily, and the Northside Reporter did not exist in full and/or were only available on microfilm. I also tracked down archived and personal collections, magazines, an unfinished autobiography, diaries, journals, cards and letters, photographs, photocopies, FBI files, and additional newspapers in the research stage. Not only does this research add to the current knowledge base, it ensures that Brannon Smith and her accomplishments will not be forgotten.