An American Crime Journaliste

Edna Buchanan, who was born in 1939, moved from New Jersey where she was born and raised to Miami in the 1960s. She wanted to pursue a career as a journalist, and she was offered a job by a small community newspaper near the big city. Florida worked out well for Edna. Her wit and writing skills caught the notice of editors at the larger Miami Herald, and they hired her in 1973 as a crime reporter.

She loved her new job. As their police reporter, she covered thousands of violent crimes, while Miami lived through its peak as the center of the international drug trade.

She is famous for grabbing the reader’s attention with the opening lines of her crime stories. When reporting on Gary Robinson, an ex-con who was shot and killed by a security guard at a Church’s Chicken restaurant, after getting violent when they ran out of fried chicken, she wrote “Gary Robinson died hungry.” With writing like that, Edna got many accolades, including the highest. In 1986, she won a Pulitzer Prize for general reporting.

She loved crime so much that even when she retired, she kept writing about it, publishing multiple mystery novels. Edna said of her job: “Nobody loves a police reporter. The job can be lonely and arduous. I have been threatened with arrest, threatened physically, had rocks thrown at me. I’ve gotten threatening letters, subpoenas, and obscene phone calls, some of them from my editors. It is tiring, haunting, and truly wonderful.”