In the late 1980s, Clinton Howard Swindle led The Dallas Morning News to three Pulitzer Prizes. The investigative journalist and hands-on editor oversaw the paper’s project on racial segregation in public housing, guided its analysis of a plane crash investigation and assigned reporters to analyze police abuse of power throughout the state of Texas.
Swindle was well respected by his readers and colleagues for his honesty, integrity and masterful storytelling skills. Over the course of his writing career, he also published several books, including mystery novels (“Jitter Joint,” “Doin’ Dirty”) and nonfiction texts (“Trespasses: Portrait of a Serial Rapist,” “Deliberate Indifference: A Story of Murder and Racial Injustice”).
Even as a young journalist, Swindle covered stories with dogged determination. After attending North Texas State University, he landed a reporting job at the Lubbock (Tex.) Avalanche-Journal. One of his first investigative pieces solved a murder that had previously stumped the authorities.
Swindle served in the Navy as a signal intelligence communications specialist during the Vietnam War, then returned to the states to embark on a lifetime of journalistic achievement. He worked for a Chicago tabloid and the Dallas Times Herald before joining The Dallas Morning News in 1979. There he climbed up the ranks, from reporter to assistant metropolitan editor to assistant managing editor for projects.
[Update: On Oct. 1, 2004, The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas presented its James Madison Award to the late Howard Swindle. The James Madison Award honors those whose “appreciation and respect for the First Amendment and open government have been demonstrated by exemplary actions, words or deeds.”]