Pulitzer Prize Winner Sam Davis, ‘83: Uses the Sun to Shine the LightPublished Tuesday, May 19th, 2020
Sam Davis, Class of 1983, shares his story.
Sam Davis, ‘83, knew exactly what he wanted to do when he was in junior high school…to be a reporter. “By the time I graduated from Coppin I was already working part time at The Sun as a sports clerk compiling statistics and occasionally writing,” said Davis. Now, as Managing Editor, Sam and members of his team won the coveted Pulitzer Prize in April for their successful and informative reporting on the Healthy Holly scandal and the enigmatic financial relationship between the former Baltimore City mayor and the local public hospital system she helped manage.
Sam attended the Community College of Baltimore (now Baltimore City Community College) as a senior in high school in a special program called the University Without Walls. After graduation in 1977, he remained at CCB and majored in journalism. He worked for the school paper, the College Crier, as a reporter his first year, and as the sports editor the second. “During my second year,” Sam recalled, “I also convinced Sam Lacy, the sports editor of the Afro American, to hire me as a part time sports reporter, writing articles about high school and college sports.” He stayed at the Afro approximately one year while also completing his final year at CCB. Then he transferred to Coppin in 1980 and left the Afro for a part time job as a sports clerk at The Baltimore Sun.
“The fact that I’m now in my 40th year at The Sun is a pretty good indication of how much I have enjoyed it. It has been a remarkable journey. The Sun has given me opportunities I could have never dreamed of, growing up in the shadow of Coppin in West Baltimore’s Easterwood neighborhood.” Sam has been involved in covering some of the most significant sports events in Baltimore’s history including two Ravens Super Bowls, two Maryland men’s basketball Final Fours, a Maryland women’s basketball Final Four, the Orioles 1983 World Series, two Dunbar High basketball mythical national championships and several milestones in the career of Cal Ripken. Sam’s career has made him a seasoned cosmopolite. “My coverage of sports and my job as an editor and recruiter have allowed me to travel to Toronto, Honolulu, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Charlotte, St. Louis, Detroit, Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, Chicago, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, Seattle, Oakland, Nashville, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Baton Rouge and many other places. In 1990 I spent a week in Russia in three cities - Moscow, Kiev and Odessa - with members of The Sun staff who played on the company softball team. The mission [was] to connect with Russian journalists and teach them how to play softball and show how businesses in America use the game as a form of comradery.”
Sam hopes his career will be an “emblem of light” for Coppin students, and a source of inspiration. “Before I began my career in journalism I worked as a tailor doing alterations at stores on Pennsylvania Avenue and in Mondawmin Mall. So, ignore the naysayers, and don’t be afraid to move from your comfort zone.”