(Oct. 3, 1905-Aug. 7, 1987). Managing editor of the Indianapolis Star from 1946 to 1979, Early was a crusading editor who directed investigations of government wrongdoing. Born in Indianapolis, he was a 1923 graduate of Cathedral High School and entered journalism two years later with a job at United Press. He became a reporter on the Star in 1927, launching a 52-year career with Indiana’s largest daily newspaper that included promotions to assistant city editor in 1940, city editor in 1944, and managing editor in 1946.

The most notable of numerous awards won by the Star during his tenure was a 1974 Pulitzer Prize for an expose of corruption in the Indianapolis Police department (see Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department). Another story series in 1957 revealed a scandal in the State Highway Department that led to the conviction of ten persons. In 1969, he directed the newspaper’s campaign that resulted in General Assembly action reforming the Marion County Municipal Court. Public service campaigns pushed by Early included an “every-yard-a-park” drive to beautify the city, a push for “running lights” on autos to improve highway safety, and the founding of the Crime Alert program in the police department.

A charter member of the Indianapolis Press Club, he received its Indiana Newsman of the Year Award in 1969. He was a past president of the Indiana Associated Press Managing Editors Association. He was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame of the Society of Professional Journalists in 1979, receiving an honor also granted his brother, Maurice Early, a political columnist for the Star.

Revised March 2021

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