As a reporter, columnist and legendary rewrite-man for the Chicago Sun-Times for more than 34 years, Hugh Hough produced thousands of major stories and columns.
He set a standard of excellence in Chicago journalism with his secret to good writing: never use clichés.
Writing about Hugh after his death, Hugh’s Sun-Times colleague Tom Fitzpatrick tried to capture Hough’s stature as a rewrite-man, saying; “A big story would break in the middle of the afternoon. There would be very little time until deadline. Some reporters would be sent to the scene. Others would be sent to the nearest police station or the nearest hospital and maybe to both. As you sped to the scene with a photographer, you would hear the magic words: ‘Call everything in to Hugh Hough. He’s handling the story.’ That alone took away a lot of your anxiety. You knew that Hugh would be rock steady at the other end of the line when you called.”
Hugh’s talent for writing didn’t go unnoticed. In 1974, along with Arthur M. Pectacque, also a University alumnus, Hough won the Pulitzer Prize for Local General Spot News Reporting. The team uncovered new evidence that led to the reopening of the 1966 murder case of Illinois Sen. Charles Percy’s daughter, Valerie.
Rebuffing suggestions that he enter management and become an editor, Hugh was known for his unflappable nature and willingness to help out new reporters … and for his love of golf.
Hough died April 18, 1986. That same year, a University scholarship fund was established in Hough’s name to provide a stipend each semester to a deserving University student enrolled in the College of Communications.
This bio was written at the time of Hugh Hough’s posthumous inauguration into the 2007 Illini Media Hall of Fame.