Bill Stroud, a member of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team at the Philadelphia Inquirer who began his professional journalism career as a reporter at the Pine Bluff (Ark.) Commercial, has died. He was 65.
Stroud, who became an expert on use of computers in newspaper publishing, died Friday of prostate cancer at Roxborough Memorial Hospital in Philadelphia.
William H. Stroud was born on a farm outside McGehee, Ark., where his mother was an English teacher. He followed two brothers into journalism and became a reporter on the regional desk of The Commercial in 1965, after graduating from the University of Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in history.
In later years, he recalled with pride stories he wrote on turmoil over desegregation of schools in southeast Arkansas. His coverage of an instructor at Arkansas A&M College — now the University of Arkansas at Monticello — accused of being a communist drew a death threat that he shrugged off.
Stroud later worked at the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before moving to Pennsylvania to join the staff of the Inquirer. He was hired at Philadelphia by Gene Foreman, who had taken on Stroud at The Commercial when Foreman was managing editor there.
At the Inquirer, Stroud was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant.
He held several editing positions at The Inquirer before being named assistant managing editor and later head of publishing systems by executive editor Gene Roberts in the early 1980s.
“Bill was a key figure in building a new Inquirer,” said Gene Roberts, former executive editor of The Inquirer. “He was the architect of computerization and he helped create one of the best editing systems in the industry. He had extremely high standards in accuracy, grammar, and quality of writing.”
A funeral is scheduled at 3 p.m. Friday at the United Methodist Church of Bala Cynwyd. A private burial is planned.