Praise for Walter Mears’ book “Deadlines Past”


—Library Journal

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Pulitzer Prize-winner and former reporter Walter Mears, who worked for the Associated Press (AP) for over four decades, will give a talk titled “Forty Years of Presidential Campaigning” on Monday, March 15, at 4:30 p.m. on the Middlebury College campus. The event, the annual Robert W. van de Velde Jr. ‘75 Memorial Lecture, will take place in Dana Auditorium in Sunderland Language Center on College Street (Route 125). The lecture is free and open to the public.

Mears, a 1956 Middlebury graduate, is the author of “Deadlines Past: Forty Years of Presidential Campaigning: A Reporter’s Story,” which was published in October of 2003. In the book, he recounts his experience reporting on national politics from 1960 to 2001, covering 11 campaigns from the Kennedy-Nixon battle to the Gore-Bush race. Throughout the book, Mears includes numerous insider stories and entertaining anecdotes, as well as a perspective on how campaigns have evolved with such changes as television, technology and political consultants.

As one of “the boys on the bus,” Mears developed a reputation amongst the campaign press corps for incredible speed?a former boss at AP said, “Mears writes faster than most people think and frequently faster than he thinks.” He was also known for his ability to instantly identify the “lead” or first paragraph of a story, which is meant to draw in the reader immediately with a concise description of the essence of the article. During his time as a political reporter, his readership was enormous because hundreds of newspapers across the country printed his stories. For many of these readers, Mears served as a major source of political campaign news.

Mears received the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 1977 for his coverage of the 1976 presidential campaign and election, when Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford.

The annual Robert W. van de Velde Jr. lecture was named for a member of the Middlebury class of 1975. The memorial lecture was established in 1981 by his parents, R.W. and Barbara van de Velde; his widow, Diana Mooney van de Velde; and other family members and friends. The lecture series provides an annual talk on the confluence of public affairs-both foreign and domestic-and journalism, particularly broadcast journalism. Previous speakers in the series have included former Gov. of Vermont Madeleine Kunin, personal finance columnist and author Jane Bryant Quinn of the class of 1960, Pulitzer Prize-winner David Moats, and Montpelier Associated Press Bureau Chief Christopher Graff of the class of 1975.

For more information, contact Kathleen Knippler at or 802-443-5393 in the office of the secretary of Middlebury College.

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