Turns out that there’s a cloud over the first Pulitzer Prize-winning story ever written by a San Diego newspaper reporter.
Yes, a young and scrappy Magner White of the San Diego Sun wrote about how the skies darkened over Southern California during the eclipse of 1923. But did he ever bother to go outside to look at it, let alone witness the fleeting disruption in Tijuana’s “wickedness” as painted ladies looked skyward?
“Much of the ‘color’ in White’s story, as Sun alumni will tell you, was reported before the fact,” wrote Los Angeles Times reporter Tony Perry in a 1989 piece. “Thereby proving the journalistic adage that some stories are true whether they happened or not.”
Even White’s great-granddaughter, Kim Jennett of San Jose, admits that he had a “vivid imagination.”
The story was “his interpretation of what he felt the eclipse was going to do,” she said of a man who’s still a legend in her family.