June 22, 2004 by

Howard Swindle


Categories: Media, Writers/Editors

hswindle.jpgIn 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.

Swindle died on June 9 after a five-year battle with cancer. He was 58.

[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.”]

8 Responses to Howard Swindle

  1. MJ Clemens

    This site’s readers should also know about Howard Swindle’s 1989 book: “Once a Hero, The True Story of One Man’s Tragic Odessy from Vietnam to Leavenworth.” Thank you for honoring such a thorough writer with this tribute/mjc

  2. Jake Swindle

    Howard Swindle was much more than a journalist.He was a truly loving father and grandfather.He fought so hard to kill the cancer,but ultimately failed.I was his youngest child.I miss him everyday of my life.He died when I was only 10.I just hope you know that he was much more than the article states.
    Jake Anson Swindle

  3. na parks

    Many years ago, prior to Howard’s cancer, he was a pivotal point in an investigative matter. i am deeply grateful for his compassion, his awareness and intelligence in the matter and overall his tremendous kindness.
    Jake, your father was indeed much more than the brief words of the tribute. His honor, integrity and compasson were beyond compare. It is with great regret that i have learned of his passing.

  4. Megan Askew

    Howard Swindle is a great writter and he was…a great father.His books are amazing,funny, and exciting.I love reading them.Jake the pain that runs through me when I read this blog.He loved you very much and we all miss him.
    Megan Askew

  5. teena anderson

    After reading “Falling off a Mountain”, I sent Howard my cancer journal. I was amazed at how similar our journals were. He wrote back a very touching letter and encouraged me to continue the fight. Because of his boldness and honesty, I realized the medical part of cancer is only the beginning of the fight. The mental part of cancer is the real fight for all of us. I was not alone. God bless you, Howard.

  6. Tim Wyatt

    Rarely a day goes by that I don’t think of Howard or remember a phrase or conversation we had over coffee anywhere, Chicken Fried Steak at Mother’s Daughters Diner, or while standing on the back dock of TDMNews. But I always think of him on the day we lost such a great friend, mentor, journalist, father … the list just goes on and on. It’s the measure of a what a good man he was — “warts and all.”

  7. Jake Swindle

    Thank you all for the compassion you people show my father. If there are any questions regarding things you can’t read in the article, I will try to answer them for you.
    Howards son, Jake

  8. Bruce Glasrud


    I am trying to locate a member of Howard Swindle’s family; my reason, I wish to receive permission to publish some pages from Deliberate Indifference for a book on Anti-Black Violence in Twentieth Century Texas. I am an historian residing in San Antonio. Please acknowledge. I will answer any queries and meet if you so desire. Or, direct me to whom ever in your family. Thanks.


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