By: Lauren Wiener
Charles Kuralt’s People, to be published in December by Kenilworth Media, is a collection of the journalist’s award-winning stories written while he was a reporter for the old Charlotte (N.C.) News in 1956. He was 22 when he penned the 169 “People” columns, which earned him the Ernie Pyle Award.
Kuralt, who went on to have a 37-year career at CBS, during which he won 13 Emmys, was known for looking for stories where no one else did, interviewing ordinary townspeople who made meaningful impacts on those around them. “Each day I would seek out some cop or kid or cab driver,” Kuralt wrote of his Charlotte News days, “and tell his story in a few hundred words. … I used to bravely walk up to panhandlers and crapshooters — the sort of people others avoided — and strike up conversation.”
“He taught us how to see people,” said Ralph Grizzle, compiler of the book and author of a biography of Kuralt, who died July 4, 1997. One of Kuralt’s most memorable messages, Grizzle said, is to just slow down and “take the country’s back roads instead of the main highways.”