Thomas French

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For similarly named people, see Tom French (disambiguation).

Thomas French is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist. He worked for the St. Petersburg Times from 1981 until he took early retirement to teach in 2008. He currently occupies the Riley Endowed Chair in Journalism at Indiana University School of Journalism[1] and teaches in Goucher College's creative nonfiction MFA program.[2]


In 1998, the Times won its sixth Pulitzer Prize; French won for Feature Writing for his piece “Angels and Demons,” the story of the murders of Jo, Michelle and Christe Rogers and the eventual capture of the murderer, Oba Chandler. He also completed the series "South of Heaven," later expanded into a book of narrative nonfiction, about students at the end of the 1980s at Largo High School with the cooperation of LHS journalism teacher Jan Amburgy. He also collaborated on "13", a mini-series that ran in the St. Petersburg Times about middle schoolers at Booker T. Washington Middle Magnet School for International Studies in Tampa. His "The Exorcist in Love" is an in-depth investigation into the life and work of Laura Knight (now Laura Knight-Jadczyk).[3]

According to Washington Post reporter Anne Hull, French's work has set the standard for a generation of reporters.

He wrote a seminal piece of journalism called 'A Cry In The Night' that dominated our craft for a long time and made a model for the rest of us to follow," Hull said. "He's been my teacher since the day I met him. IU will soon get a glimpse of his passion and ferocious belief that journalism should be fair and truthful but also raucous, subversive, emotional and daring.[4]

His 2010 book about Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida is called "Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives."



  1. ^ Indiana University School of Journalism (05-03-2010). "Faculty and Staff". Retrieved 5 March 2010.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ "Goucher College: Faculty...". Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Thomas French. "The Exorcist in Love". St Petersburg Times. Retrieved 5 March 2010. 
  4. ^ Indiana University School of Journalism (2008-08-28). "Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas French returning to teach at the IU School of Journalism". Retrieved 5 March 2010.