Harry Karafin

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Harry J. Karafin (September 4, 1915 – October 23, 1973[1]) was an American investigative journalist associated with The Philadelphia Inquirer. He was a reporter at the Inquirer for 24 years (having worked his way up from copyboy, beginning in 1939[2]), and in the 1950s and 1960s was considered the paper's star reporter as well as the city's best-known journalist, known for exposing corruption (partly through privileged access to district attorney files).[3] Together with a colleague, Karafin was one of three finalists for the 1965 Pulitzer Prize for Local Investigative Specialized Reporting.[4]

He was dismissed in 1967 after a Philadelphia magazine article exposed his willingness to accept payment from potential reporting subjects in order to avoid negative coverage.[5][6] Karafin was convicted on 40 counts of blackmail and corrupt solicitation in 1968[7][8] and sentenced to 4-to-9 years; he was additionally convicted of perjury in 1971 in relation to statements in the 1968 trial, with a concurrent 2- to 7-year sentence.[9] He died in prison in 1973.[10]


  1. ^ "Social Security Death Index" database online at Mocavo.com (Boulder, CO: 2013). Original Data: The United States Social Security Administration
  2. ^ Time, 21 April 1967, Magazines: Harry the Muckraker
  3. ^ Christopher Ogden (2009), Legacy: A Biography of Moses and Walter Annenberg, Hachette, p235-6
  4. ^ Heinz-D Fischer and Erika J. Fischer (2003), Complete Historical Handbook of the Pulitzer Prize System 1917-2000: Decision-Making Processes in all Award Categories based on unpublished Sources, Walter de Gruyter, p. 118–9
  5. ^ New York Times News Service, The Milwaukee Journal, 19 April 1967, Veteran Philadelphia Reporter Fired for Alleged Shakedowns
  6. ^ Gaeton Fonzi and Gregory Walter, Philadelphia, 25 September 2008, The Reporter
  7. ^ AP, Observer-Reporter, 3 October 1968, Karafin Found Guilty In His Blackmail Trial
  8. ^ UPI, The Milwaukee Journal, 3 October 1968, Ex-Reporter Convicted in Shakedowns
  9. ^ AP, 9 December 1971, Gettysburg Times, Harry Karafin Sent To Prison
  10. ^ Paul McLeary, Columbia Journalism Review, 10 April 2006, Where’s Harry Karafin Now That We Need Him?