John Pittman retired Thursday as editor and senior vice president of The Greenville News, ending a 37-year career at the newspaper he led through landmark public service reporting and into the digital age.
Pittman came to Greenville in 1976 as city editor. He quickly rose during two years to managing editor and then to executive editor at the age of 29. At the time of his appointment as editor, he oversaw the operations of two daily newspapers – The News and the Greenville Piedmont, the city’s afternoon daily.
During his leadership, the newspaper was recognized nationally for its public service reporting in news and sports.
The newspaper was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting and received top honors from national journalism organizations, including Investigative Reporters and Editors, Associated Press Managing Editors, and Associated Press Sports Editors.
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Pittman, 64, said, “I was very fortunate to be able to newspaper for 37 years here in Greenville. It has given me a unique understanding of the expectations of our readers.”
Steve Brandt, publisher of The News, said, “John was a superb editor. He cared deeply about our community and our state. For 37 years, his passion was serving them with great journalism. He was a fierce advocate for the highest ethical standards in journalism. ... Thousands of times I have walked across the hall to seek his counsel. I will miss him.”
Pittman started his journalism career as a teenager, working as a copy boy and then as a reporter at The Knoxville Journal, his hometown newspaper. He worked as a copy editor and reporter in Knoxville while attending the University of Tennessee.
Pittman left Knoxville to join a group of journalists starting a new daily newspaper in Fayetteville, N.C., The Fayetteville Times, where he was city editor.