The Press: Flora, Fauna & Tex

The week after Stanley Walker took over the city desk at the New York Herald Tribune in 1928, he promoted a snub-nosed copy boy to his reporting staff. Hefty, 21-year-old John ("Tex") O'Reilly, son of a rancher from Pecos County, had switched from sheepherder to apple-knocker, from milkman to soda jerk. As a newsman he was an unknown quantity, but in one respect the staff agreed that he showed promise: he had just won $167 in the city-room poker game.

His boss, a fellow Texan, soon found that O'Reilly also had a talent for...

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