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Harry Haigley


Material Information

Harry Haigley
Series Title:
USF 50th (2006) anniversary oral history project
Physical Description:
1 sound file (30 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;
Haigley, Harry
Riley, Danielle
University of South Florida Libraries -- Florida Studies Center. -- Oral History Program
University of South Florida -- Tampa Library
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
St. Petersburg times   ( lcsh )
Journalism   ( lcsh )
United States. Air Force   ( lcsh )
University of South Florida $x Newspapers   ( lcsh )
Oral history   ( local )
Online audio   ( local )
Oral history.   ( local )
Online audio.   ( local )
interview   ( marcgt )


Harry Haigley talks about his experiences as founding staff at the Oracle, which later got him a job at the St. Petersburg Times and lead him to a successful career in journalism, including a stint as editor of the United States Air Force newspaper.
Interview conducted April 27, 2004.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System Details:
Streaming audio.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Danielle Riley.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 028948125
oclc - 233824785
usfldc doi - U23-00060
usfldc handle - u23.60
System ID:

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COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 200 8 University of South Florida. All rights, reserved. T his oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrighted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.


1 USF Florida Studies Center Oral History Program USF 5Oth History Anniversary Project Narrator: Harry Haigley Interviewer: Danielle E. Riley Current Position: USF Alumnus Location of Interview: Tampa Campus Library Date of Interview: Apri l 27, 2004 Abstractor: Jared G. Toney Editor: Danielle E. Riley Final Editor: Jared G. Toney Date of Edit: May 18, 2004 TOPICS OF DISCUSSION Mr. Haigley came to USF as a student in 1965. He served as the first editor for the USF Oracle. Air Forc e Mr. Haigley is a native Floridian. Immediately following his high school graduation, he joined the Air Force, where he became a part of the USAF's Strategic Air Command, based out of Mississippi. Though he volunteered for duty in Vietnam on three occasi ons, he recalls, "They didn't take me. They didn't need me then." USAF Newspaper editor While in the Air Force, he served as the editor for a base newspaper for about a year. "We did everything photography, layout, advertising. Every single piece of t he newspaper we got involved in." Though he first got involved as a photographer, he soon began writing articles for them, working his way up to the position of editor. College He recalls that it was about two years into the Air Force that he began to th ink about his education and plans for the future. Not only was Mr. Haigley the first in his family to attend college, he jokes that he was quite possibly the very first person he ever knew who went. "It seemed like a good idea, so I applied all over the st ate got accepted here [at USF]." First impressions of USF "USF was unfinished everywhere you [now] see trees and plants it was just empty lot you could literally look for a quarter of a mile and not see anything." He remembers that USF was very m uch a commuter school at that time, perhaps as high as sixty to seventy percent of students lived at home as he did. "By a large measure the school was empty at 5:00 [pm]." Mr. Haigley feels that because the campus was so isolated and desolate, his experie nces at USF more closely resembled that of a job than an authentic college.


2 Academics Though his passion was journalism, Mr. Haigley decided to go into pre law, which was housed in the Political Science department. "It was just a place where I showed up, got grades, [and] went home." USF Oracle Because he was already experienced in working on a newspaper, Mr. Haigley naturally found a home at the USF Oracle where he was made the editor. Because of his military history, he recalls, "I was a safe choice, because that was a time of radicalism on campuses they thought I'd be a pretty good choice." Initially, USF administrators were particularly concerned about turning over the operation of a newspaper entirely to a young and relatively inexperienced staff of students. "They really looked over our shoulder a lot in the early years. We had no censorship but everything we put in the paper was read first by faculty advisors [who were] benign and helpful." Content of the Oracle A lot of the initial decision s concerning the content and approach of the newspaper were made by Haigley and his staff, such as the inclusion of fraternities and sororities, intramural sports, and extensive coverage of student government activities. "Those were all deliberate decision s. We didn't have to do any of that. We could have covered a zillion other things we deliberately chose areas of coverage that continue today, so I'm somewhat pleased with that." At the time of its inception, the Oracle was published on a weekly basis. Income Mr. Haigley was paid ninety cents per hour in his position as the editor of the Oracle a twenty hour per week job that required forty hours of work. He also served as a police reporter for the Tampa Tribune on Friday and Saturday nights, which pa id $25 for the weekend. On top of that, he was also earning an income as a military veteran. "So I was earning more money than some kids I knew that were working full time. So I did well." Typical day on campus Typically, he would be on campus by 8:00 in the morning, and would leave by 5:30 in the evening. Often times, he would have to take a couple of hours off during the day to attend classes. Oracle staff The staff consisted of ten to fifteen paid students, though he often relied upon stories from jou rnalism students who would work with the Oracle as part of their class requirements. He believes that because of the high quality and dedication of staff members, the paper "became a very good breeding ground for professional journalists." "The journalism department trained people in the theory of journalism, but the Oracle practiced it, and as a consequence a lot of those people went on to very good jobs."


3 News coverage Despite the radical atmosphere of American society at the time, Mr. Haigley and his s taff made a conscious decision to cover events specific to USF, focusing on the campus, students, and faculty. "This was not a radical campus at that time it was hard to get people together here." Accent on learning Though the typical unifying element at universities is athletics, John Allen's emphasis on learning stressed more academic and intellectual pursuits. "I don't even remember t shirts or hats or anything with logos on it in that era. There was some school pride but not a lot Presumably, it t ook a different type of student to be here, and they deliberately sought out those students." Campus activities Outside of the classroom, there would be debates, provocative plays, lectures, and university sponsored events like poetry readings and musica l activities. As a result of the "code of journalism" and an emphasis on objectivity, Mr. Haigley did not participate in such events in order that he may better report them. "As a consequence, all of the people on the staff maintained independence from the University and from all of the events. We attended, but we usually didn't participate." Vision for the paper Because he was empowered to hire everyone on his staff, Mr. Haigley looked for people who were "extremely dedicated," and shared his vision for a successful newspaper. "We produced a darn good newspaper, and by accident won two awards." Location of offices At the time, the offices of the Oracle were housed on the second floor of the University Center. The newspaper included color pictures, and w as printed by the St. Petersburg Times. Typically, the weekly issue would be completed by Wednesday night and circulated on Fridays, though the color pictures had to be done a week in advance. Tenure at USF Mr. Haigley recalls that because of his previou s experience, running the USF Oracle was "not really difficult at all it was just a matter of getting good people in place somehow we attracted a darn good staff, and they really didn't need much help from me." He served as the editor during his two an d a half year tenure at South Florida, and he graduated from the University in 1967. After graduation Academically, he recalls, "It was just a matter of getting through it. I didn't really put a lot of energy into it grades reflected that. I always kne w I was going to be a journalist, and the Oracle was my means of doing that. As a consequence, when I was hired by the St. Pete Times they didn't care what my degree was in." In fact, he was hired by the Times immediately following his graduation from USF He first started working in


4 Sports, "Which I hated I was terrible at [it] I ended up in literally every beat in the newspaper I ended up doing investigative work. That's what I enjoy the most." Investigative reporter at the St. Pete Times As an in vestigative reporter, he started a column called "Consummerism," with the intention of "expos[ing] deliberate lies made by corporations Ralph Nader led the pack on that, but I was probably the first consumer reporter in the southeast U.S., possibly the w hole eastern seaboard." At the time, he and his colleagues focused on advertising, testing the premises upon which corporations promoted their products and merchandise. While he worked at the St. Pete Times he remembers that the staff was very young, "W hich reflected the era of the times. We were a fairly liberal group then all Democrats. I'm sure they're all Republicans now." Careers After working at the St. Pete Times he left to join the Miami News where he worked for two years. From there, he wen t to work in the corporate relations department at Allstate Insurance Company, then on to Arthur Anderson where he worked while earning credits toward his M.B.A at the University of Chicago. Connection to USF His connection to USF throughout the years wor e "pretty thin" as he stayed busy with career and family, while traveling throughout the country. He moved back into the area sixteen years ago, and regrets not having spent more time at the University. When asked what his impression of the campus is now, he jokingly remarks, "It's a lot greener! There was so much raw shell where now there's grass. It's much more of a college atmosphere now." For the longest time, when he told people that he was a graduate of USF, "Nobody knew where it was and obviou sly they thought it was in south Florida, so I had to explain that but, over time, people started recognizing it over the last ten or fifteen years." Memorable experiences He believes editing the Oracle was his most memorable and significant experienc e at USF. "We started the newspaper, and as a consequence we reset everything to zero, and reexamined all of the decisions, and I think made some good ones. A lot of them are still in place." He was delighted to see upon his recent return to the campus tha t a passion still exists among staff members at the Oracle for their work. "They're very impatient for people that don't share that passion The people that are here are very dedicated to what they're doing. I was impressed." End of Interview

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Haigley, Harry.
Harry Haigley
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Danielle Riley.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (30 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 expanded summary (digital, PDF file)
USF 50th (2006) anniversary oral history project
Interview conducted April 27, 2004.
Harry Haigley talks about his experiences as founding staff at the Oracle, which later got him a job at the St. Petersburg Times and lead him to a successful career in journalism, including a stint as editor of the United States Air Force newspaper.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Streaming audio.
Haigley, Harry.
2 610
University of South Florida.
St. Petersburg times.
United States. Air Force.
University of South Florida $x Newspapers.
7 655
Oral history.
Online audio.
Riley, Danielle.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
Tampa Library.
4 856