Dayton Daily News Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter dies

Russell Carollo, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter while at the Dayton Daily News, died Dec. 19 in Switzerland, according to his family. Carollo was 63.

Carollo’s award-winning career includes an investigation that exposed serious flaws in the U.S. military health care system. The Dayton Daily News series, which he reported with Jeff Nesmith, won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.

“He was one of the best reporters I had anything to do with,” Nesmith said.

In 1992, he was a finalist for a Pulitzer for Public Service for his work at the Dayton Daily News with Mike Casey revealing gross national neglect of worker safety conditions and regulation, which prompted workplace-reform legislation.

In 1996, he was a finalist for a Pulitzer for National Reporting with Dayton Daily News reporters Carol Hernandez and Jeff Nesmith on the lenient handling of sexual misconduct cases by the military.

In 2002, he was among Dayton Daily News staff that were Pulitzer finalists for Investigative Reporting for their global examination of the ethical issues surrounding the recruiting of foreign athletes for American schools.

A 2003 Dayton Daily News investigation by Carollo and Mei-Ling Hopgood discovered widespread violence, including murders, against volunteers in the Peace Corps sent to dangerous parts of the globe with little training or supervision.

John Erickson was Carollo’s editor at the Dayton Daily News and worked with him on three of Carollo’s stories that were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, including the story on military malpractice that won the Pulitzer for National Reporting in 1998.

“Russell was the best reporter I’ve ever worked with,” Erickson said. “He had an unrelenting passion for finding the truth and an uncanny knack for extracting hidden gems in records that no one else could find. He could write books on how to use the federal Freedom of Information Act, and was a master at getting people – even the subjects of hard, investigative stories - to talk to him.”

Carollo won numerous other national awards, including Harvard University’s Goldsmith Award, two White House Correspondent’s Association awards and six Investigative Reporters & Editors awards and several state and local journalism awards.

Three awards were personally presented to him by U.S. presidents, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford.

Carollo’s career covering domestic and foreign assignments includes working at newspapers in Mississippi, Louisiana, Washington state, California and Ohio. He reported from more than 17 countries.

A native of suburban New Orleans, Carollo graduated with a journalism degree from Louisiana State University and a history degree from Southeastern Louisiana University.

Carollo is survived by his mother, Norma Carollo of Lacombe, La., and other family members.

About the Author