Martin Oliver "Mo" Waldron (February 2, 1925 – May 27, 1981) was an American newspaper reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize for exposing in the St. Petersburg Times during 1963 "reckless, unchecked spending" on the construction of the Sunshine State Parkway. At his death he was the Trenton, New Jersey, bureau chief for The New York Times.
Waldron was born on February 2, 1925 in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. He attended Middle Georgia College, Georgia Institute of Technology and Atlanta Law School, and was awarded his undergraduate degree from Birmingham–Southern College. He worked as a reporter at The Atlanta Constitution, Birmingham Age-Herald / Birmingham Post-Herald and The Tampa Tribune, gradually shifting to a focus on investigative reporting.
Waldron was with the St. Petersburg Times in 1963, when he wrote a total of 150,000 words as part of the newspaper's coverage of unchecked spending by the Florida Turnpike Authority (FTA) that led to estimated costs quadrupling of the cost to taxpayers, from initial estimates of $100 million. Waldron received a tip about excessive spending by FTA Chairman John Hammer that included expensive hotels and meals and corsages for his secretary, as well as overcharges for a chartered plane. As part of his efforts to see how much it would take to spend $30 on a meal in 1963—when two could dine opulently for $15—Waldron and a colleague went to an expensive Miami restaurant. They ordered caesar salad, sirloin steak, dessert and two brandies, and hit their $30 target by paying for the glass the brandy came in and adding a $5 tip. His coverage earned the newspaper the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1964, its first Pulitzer, and led to changes in the way the state of Florida managed highway construction projects.
Waldron moved to The New York Times in 1966, becoming the paper's Trenton bureau chief. His final reporting for the paper was about casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey and their relationships with local municipal government, a series that was nominated for a Pulitzer. Arthur Gelb, then deputy managing editor for The Times, recalled that "if Mo Waldron was in town there would be a party somewhere and everybody from the mayor down would be there".
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- Harris, Roy J. "Pulitzer's gold: behind the prize for public service journalism". University of Missouri Press, 2007. ISBN 0-8262-1768-0. Page 194.
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- Evans, Dorothy; and Kosharsky, Romaine. "Martin Waldron, reporter whose stories won Pulitzer for Times", St. Petersburg Times, May 28, 1981. Retrieved July 13, 2010.