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Pulitzer-winning journalist Haynes Johnson dies

WASHINGTON -- Haynes Johnson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who migrated from newspapers to television, books and teaching, died yesterday. He was 81.

In a statement to The Washington Post newsroom, managing editor Kevin Merida said Johnson died of a heart attack.

Johnson won a Pulitzer in 1966 for reporting on the civil rights struggle in Selma, Ala., while with the Washington Star. He spent about 12 years at the Star before joining its chief rival, The Washington Post, in 1969. He was a columnist there from 1977 to 1994.

Former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie told the newspaper, "Haynes was a pioneer in looking at the mood of the country to understand a political race. Haynes was going around the country talking to people, doing portraits and finding out what was on people's minds."

The author, co-author or editor of 18 books, Johnson also appeared on the PBS programs "Washington Week in Review" and "PBS NewsHour."

"I knew I wanted to write about America, our times," he told C-SPAN in 1991. "I wanted to try to see if I could combine what I do as a newspaper person as well as step back a little bit and write about American life, and I was lucky enough to be able to do that."

Johnson was born in New York City. His mother, Emmie, was a pianist and his father, Malcolm Johnson, a newspaperman who won a Pulitzer Prize for the New York Sun in 1949 for his reporting on the city's dockyards; his series suggested the story told in the Oscar-winning film "On the Waterfront."

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