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Jack Ross, Journalist

[Taken from the article written by Boston Bugle Editor in Chief Danielle Vice in celebration of 25 years at the paper]

Jack Ross.
Born April 10th 1959
Parents: James and Sheila Ross.
Siblings: Bill Ross (Deceased), Darren Ross (Deceased), and Elizabeth Ross (Missing, presumed dead).

Jack Phestus Ross, born to James and Sheila in the spring of 1959 was said to be an investigator before he could talk. Afraid of nothing, James and Sheila frequently lost Jack to bouts of exploration. If they let go of his hand for so much as a second, he was off and running. It only got worse after he learned to read and write and discovered green notepads. Always out interviewing people and trying to get the scoop on who was doing what and where.

"Oh that boy was always into somethin'. Mostly harmless, but every once in a while trouble." Mr. Ross told me as I sat down to talk with Jack's parents about the story. When I asked for an example, they told me how Jack sussed out that the Cambridge city mayor was having an affair with one of their neighbors. He self published the story. Copying hundreds of one page newspapers at his father's work, and then handing them out door to door. Apparently he hit 172 houses before the mayor personally called the Ross' and demanded a retraction.

"I told him Jack would do no such thing and hung up the phone. The next day the [Cambridge] Times called. Day after that, every newspaper in Boston picked up the story."

Before his Freshman year at St. James High School, Jack already had the reputation of a hard nose reporter with the determination of a bloodhound.

So there was never any question of what Jack was going to do when he graduated high school, the only question in Jack's mind was where. He was so well connected in Boston he had already cultivated dozens of sources... But he was so feared it was hard to get anyone on record. He felt if he was going to make it as a reporter he needed a fresh start, and to go where the news was. So naturally, San Francisco, CA was the only answer. "It broke my heart," his mother tells me, tears in her eyes just talking about it, "but I knew he was never going to be happy unless he was in the thick of it. We gave him the money he made from his first story, and James' old Viva, and sent him on his way."

At night, Jack Ross studied journalism and photography at SFU, and during the day he worked as a stringer for the Gazette. That lasted about a week as he wrote, what he calls his "first real story" on Harvey Milk's election to city council. An in depth profile of the first gay man to be elected to office in California. Circulation was through the roof, and a little over a year later Jack would win his first Pulitzer. And though Jack was repeatedly offered full time work, he refused so he could finish his education. The day he walked across the stage to accept his diploma was one he would never forget. His parents came to see the graduation of course, and they came with a briefcase full of job offers from nearly every major publication in the United States. After much deliberation, he decided on the New York Times... though it never came to pass.

Jack sold his father's car, and rode home with his family in their VW Bus. Sadly, they would be involved in an accident in southern Wyoming. Jack's two brothers were found dead, but his sister's body was never recovered, likely taken by the river. Jack and his mother suffered minor injuries, while his father would lose his left leg. Jack would forgo working at the NYT and instead come to work here at the Boston Bugle, under my father Kitt Vice so he could be near his parents and help his father with his physio.

He would go on to cultivate an illustrious career covering dozens of key moments in our history, win several awards and accolades for him and our paper, and cement himself as a premier journalist in the field. During his time here at the Bugle he would meet Victoria Dennings, our scientific advisor from Harvard. They dated for exactly fifteen days before they got married, and wasted no time having kids of their own, twins Jeffrey and June Ross. When I asked Victoria why this all seemed to happen so fast she said "Have you ever known him to pass up a good scoop?" No. No I haven't.

Jack Ross' life and career has been steeped in tragedy, both personal, and in the stories he's written. But it's also been full of perseverance, hope, and a desire to make the world a better place. His stories have kept a nation informed at the worst, and best of times, and kept us humble through his often global perspective. Thank you Jack, for 25 years of loyal service, and dedication to integrity and journalism. Here's to 25 more.

P.S. Don't tell Vic I said that.


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