Uncommonly Forged Partnership Honors Chronicler of ‘the Common Man’

By Lisa Smith Molinari
NSNC President
Photo of Ernie Pyle courtesy Ernie Pyle Legacy Foundation

Photo courtesy Ernie Pyle Legacy Foundation

There was once a folksy columnist and distinguished wartime chronicler who left such an indelible mark on journalism that NSNC gives its most prestigious award in his name, and celebrates National Columnists Day in his honor. That journalist was Ernie Pyle, and today NSNC is proud to announce a new partnership with an organization dedicated to upholding Pyle’s accomplishments – The Ernie Pyle Legacy Foundation.

This partnership did not come about in the usual way. It all started back in December, when news broke that U.S. senators from Indiana (Pyle’s state of birth), Joe Donnelly and Todd Young, introduced a resolution to establish Ernie Pyle Day on August 3rd, the date of Pyle’s birth. Wanting to make sure that the senators had done their homework, I wrote an open letter to them, published in the Terre Haute Tribune Star  , explaining NSNC’s long-standing recognition of Ernie Pyle.
A few dominos in the chain fell, and a phone call came into NSNC from a man in California – Gerald “Jerry” Maschino, the Executive Director of the Ernie Pyle Legacy Foundation. Maschino, husband of Shirley Wynne (Cowan) Maschino, Ernie Pyle’s first cousin once removed, had read my letter and wanted to talk about how our organizations could work together to promote Ernie Pyle’s legacy among modern journalists.
A new partnership was born!
Ernie Pyle is at center. Photo courtesy Ernie Pyle Legacy Foundation

Ernie Pyle is at center. Photo courtesy Ernie Pyle Legacy Foundation

The Ernie Pyle Legacy Foundation was established by Pyle family members to ensure the legacy of Ernie. That being said, this is a difficult task in the world of new media  and distractions. To accomplish our goals, our best strategy will be to combine forces with organizations that share the same purposes,” Maschino said. “The Foundation has a partnership with the Ernie Pyle WWII Museum in Dana, Indiana. Now the new partnership with NSNC will expand our horizons and allow the Foundation to focus more on the journalism side of Ernie Pyle.”

Maschino established EPLF in 2013 with an eight-person Board of Directors, many of whom are descendants of Ernie Pyle. Since Ernie Pyle was a roving reporter for the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain, EPLF has strong ties to the  Scripps Howard Foundation.
Not only will Jerry Maschino attend our 2018 Annual Conference in Cincinnati this June, NSNC and EPLF have made plans to collaborate and cross-promote, accomplishing joint goals through networking, engaging on social media, and submitting press releases.
Additionally, EPLF and NSNC will join forces on the following upcoming events:
Ernie Pyle was born in Dana to tenant farmers, and enlisted in the Navy Reserves at the age of 17. When WWI ended, Pyle studied journalism at Indiana University before becoming a newspaper reporter and editor in Washington, DC. Tired of desk jobs, Pyle quit in 1926 to roam the country in a Ford roadster writing columns about average Americans, eventually accepting an offer to write nationally for the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain. He wrote his daily column until 1942, when Pyle became a wartime correspondent. Pyle was known for his simple, poignant portrayals of common soldiers, and he won the Pulitzer Prize for correspondence in 1944. He was killed by enemy fire less than a year later in the Battle of Okinawa on April 18, 1945.
I asked Jerry Maschino what Ernie Pyle would think of all the national attention his life and work gets these days, and he said, “Ernie has always said he doesn’t care for all this attention, but he would be proud that in the process we are also honoring veterans, his soldiers. I think he would also be happy with the thought that his journalism style of telling the  stories of the common man was alive and well.”
For more information about our new partner, please see EPLF’s Facebookpage and  website .
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Lisa Smith Molinari is a syndicated columnist, author, blogger and speaker, whose “Meat & Potatoes of Life” column appears weekly in civilian and military newspapers across the United States, as well as on her award-winning blog, www.themeatandpotatoesoflife.com.

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