Al Neuharth, a South Dakota native and founder of USA Today, died Friday night in Florida at the age of 89.
In remembrance of his legendary career and influence in South Dakota, we take a look at the man he was, the lives he touched and the legacy he leaves behind.
Al Neuharth was born on a farmstead in Eureka, South Dakota in 1924, shortly before the start of the Great Depression.
"He went off to war, won the bronze star, and on the GI bill came home and went to the University of South Dakota, was the editor of the Volante," said USD Journalist in Residence Chuck Baldwin.
After graduation, Neuharth started SoDak Sorts, his first venture in the newspaper business.
"A horrible failure, just an incredible failure, which he used, he learned from that; he talks about he was so embarrassed by this failure that he ran away from home," said Baldwin.
A move that brought him to Gannett News, the corporation he eventually took over and helped him build USA Today. Even after his national success, Neuharth never forgot South Dakota.
"He loved South Dakota, he never failed to mention how good it was to be back on the sacred soil of South Dakota," said Baldwin.
Neuharth founded the Al Neuharth Media Center at the University of South Dakota, inspiring the next generation of journalists with his passion for media.
"Too many people in the public think the media is not fair, and too often, they're right. So I hope we don't just wave the first amendment flag of freedom here, but I hope that we police ourselves and train ourselves to be fair," said Neuharth at the 2003 dedication of the Neuharth Media Center at USD.
"It's really great to be in the presence of somebody who was so influential to so many people, and just touched the lives of so many people," said the Volante Managing Editor and Neuharth Scholar Emily Niebrugge.
"As a student, in this program you hear the names of Tom Brokaw and you hear the name of Al Neuharth and you just think, you know these guys, can make it, I can do it too and I can really make a difference," said Volante Editor and Chief and Neuharth Scholar Megan Card.
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