Jack White (reporter)

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For other people named Jack White, see Jack White (disambiguation).

Jack White (1942 – October 12, 2005) was a veteran Rhode Island journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of President Richard Nixon's underpayment of income taxes. White's investigative article prompted Nixon to utter his famous line, "I am not a crook." White also won Emmy Awards for his reporting on fugitive banker Joe Mollicone and Providence tax officials who violated the city's residency requirement. He was considered the dean of organized crime reporting in Rhode Island.

Career[edit]

White also worked as an investigative reporter at WPRI-TV in Providence. He began his career at the Newport Daily News in 1969, and joined the Providence Journal-Evening Bulletin a year later. White made the transition to television in 1979, when he joined the investigative team at WBZ-TV in Boston. He worked as a reporter and columnist for the Cape Cod Times from 1981 to 1984 before joining WPRI-TV as chief investigative reporter in 1985.

Nixon scandal[edit]

White's Pulitzer-winning scoop almost didn't happen. Working off a tip and tax documents, White learned that Nixon failed to pay a large portion of his income taxes in 1970 and 1971. The night he was prepared to write the story, in September 1973, the union representing reporters at the newspaper voted to go on strike. White would later recall rolling the story out of his typewriter, folding it up and putting it in his wallet. He said he never thought about giving the story to management, even though he risked missing the story. "I was dreading the information I had was going to get out there. Every day I was checking out-of-town newspapers," he later told The Providence Journal. Twelve days later, the strike ended, and the story ran on October 3, 1973. At an Associated Press Managing Editors convention the following month, one of White's colleagues asked Nixon about the story, and Nixon replied, "People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I am not a crook." Nixon agreed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes. The final total was $432,787.13 plus interest.

Personal life[edit]

White died in Barnstable, Massachusetts at the age of 63. Jack's son, Tim White, is now the chief investigative reporter at WPRI-TV, as part of the Target 12 Investigators.

External links[edit]

Obituary links (may be volatile):