As ‘St. Pete Times’ Capitol Reporter Retires, Coworkers Conspire to Arrange Honor

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By: E&P Staff

Lucy Morgan’s colleagues at the St. Petersburg Times conspired for weeks to help surprise her on the state Senate floor with a resolution naming the press gallery after her.

Morgan, who has been with the Times for 37 years, won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 1985 and has led Capitol coverage for the paper for 20 years.

Morgan, who is retiring in the fall when she turns 65, was ambushed Thursday with the resolution as Sergeant at Arms Donald Severance escorted her onto the Senate floor, where lawmakers stood and applauded, as did the other reporters still in the gallery.

“I can’t imagine anyone more deserving,” Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville, told the Senate. Calling Morgan the “grand dame” of the press corps, he praised her for fairness. “But goodness help you if she was on your tail,” King said.

Senate President Tom Lee gave Morgan a proclamation, and showed her the framed photo of herself that will hang in the gallery.

“I’m stunned,” Morgan said. “Maybe I’ll come back every now and then and sort of throw a grenade in the door or something.”

Her co-workers at the paper had engineered an elaborate scheme to keep Morgan from finding out about the resolution. Other reporters claimed car trouble at one point and asked Morgan to “babysit the senate” at another to keep her occupied, Morgan said in the Times’ employee newsletter.

“I found all these people were conspiring about me for a month,” Morgan said. “It’s pretty bad when you’re supposed to know what’s going on in the Capitol and I missed it. Maybe it’s old age.”

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