TROY alumnus, journalist to speak at annual journalism symposium

Craig Pittman, a 1981 TROY graduate, writes for the Tampa Bay Times and has published four books. He will address TROY students on Feb. 19.

Craig Pittman, a 1981 TROY graduate, writes for the Tampa Bay Times and has published four books. He will address TROY students on Feb. 19.

Craig Pittman, a Florida environmental journalist, investigative reporter and author who is a Troy graduate, will speak Feb. 19 at Troy University’s annual journalism symposium.

Pittman’s topic will be “How to Be the Most Destructive Force on Campus: The truth may set you free, but don’t expect everyone to like it.” It is a reference to criticism he received during his time as a student journalist.

The public is invited to the symposium, which will take place at 10 a.m. in the ballrooms of the Trojan Center on the Troy Campus. Admission is free. The internet hashtag is #TroyPittman.

Pittman was born in Pensacola, Fla., and graduated from what was then Troy State University. He worked for two student newspapers, The Tropolitan and The Paper, from 1978 to 1981.

Since then, he says, he has “covered a variety of newspaper beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature.”

Pittman has reported on environmental issues since 1998 for Florida’s largest newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times. He won the Waldo Proffitt Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism in Florida four times, and twice won the top investigative reporting award from the Society of Environmental Journalists.

He has also won three first-place “Charlie” awards from the Florida Magazine Association for stories he freelanced for Sarasota magazine.

He is the author of four books: “Paving Paradise: Florida’s Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss,” co-written with Matthew Waite (2009); “Manatee Insanity: Inside the War Over Florida’s Most Famous Endangered Species” (2010); “The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World’s Most Beautiful Orchid” (2012); and “Oh, Florida! How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country” (2016), which won the gold medal for Florida nonfiction from the Florida Book Awards.

Pittman lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and children.

“Craig has a constructive definition of ‘destructive,’” said Steve Stewart, assistant professor of journalism and faculty adviser to the Tropolitan. “Journalism should be lively and get people’s attention. It should tell the truth and serve the public. Some people would be happy for journalists to publish fake news if it’s flattering or supports their agendas. Fact-based journalism is the furthest thing imaginable from fake news.”

The Feb. 19 event is the University’s M. Stanton Evans Symposium on Money, Politics and the Media, named for a TROY faculty member who was a national columnist, commentator, book author, and editor of the Indianapolis News. Stan Evans held the University’s Buchanan Chair of Journalism from 1980 until his death in 2015.

More information is available from Stewart at or 334-672-3192.