Charlie Ross (journalist)

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Charlie Ross
Charles Griffith Ross.jpg
White House Press Secretary
In office
May 15, 1945 – December 5, 1950
President Harry S. Truman
Preceded by Jonathan W. Daniels
Succeeded by Stephen Early (Acting)
Personal details
Born Charles Griffith Ross
(1885-11-09)November 9, 1885
Independence, Missouri, U.S.
Died December 5, 1950(1950-12-05) (aged 65)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Florence Griffin
Education University of Missouri, Columbia (BA)

Charles Griffith Ross (November 9, 1885 – December 5, 1950) was a White House Press Secretary between 1945 and 1950 for President Harry S. Truman.[1]

Early life[edit]

Ross graduated with Truman and Truman's eventual wife Bess Truman in Independence, Missouri from Independence High School (now known as William Chrisman High School) Class of 1901. He was initiated into the Sigma Chi fraternity and graduated from the University of Missouri in 1905. In 1908, he became the first professor of the newly formed Missouri School of Journalism.

Pulitzer prizewinning journalist[edit]

Harry Truman and Charles Ross

In 1918, he became the Chief Washington correspondent for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He won the 1932 Pulitzer Prize for his article entitled, "The Country's Plight, What Can Be Done About It?", a discussion of the economic situation of the United States.

In 1934, he became the editorial page editor for the Post-Dispatch and then in 1939 became a contributing editor for the paper.

White House Press Secretary[edit]

In 1945, Truman asked him to become his Press Secretary.

Despite Ross' personal relationship with Truman, he was to be accused by reporters of not running a tight ship in coordinating press releases, not being aware of everything going on in the Presidency, not burnishing the President's image, not being aware of the needs for spot news, and being a poor public speaker.

Reputation for trustworthiness[edit]

However, Ross' personal relationship with Truman had its advantages, as reporters knew Ross spoke for the president both on and off the record. Very few reporters felt Ross led them astray either.[2]


Ross died of a coronary occlusion at his desk in the White House in December 1950 after giving a press conference as he was preparing to make some comments to the television news. He was buried in Washington's Mount Olivet Cemetery.


His widow, Florence Griffin, married The Kansas City Star editor Roy A. Roberts in 1953.

His grandson, John Ross is the author of the novel Unintended Consequences.


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Jonathan W. Daniels
White House Press Secretary
Succeeded by
Stephen Early