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Journalism Giant and Medical Trailblazer

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The riveting biography of Burl Osborne, former chairman of The Associated Press and publisher of The Dallas Morning News, who waged and won one of the last great newspaper wars in the U.S.

Burl is the story of one man’s unlikely rise from the coal mines of Appalachia to the pinnacle of journalism—a remarkable feat considering doctors told him at an early age he wouldn’t live past his teens. Suffering from kidney disease he developed as a child, Burl pioneered home dialysis treatment and became the 130th person to undergo a live kidney transplant in 1966—a high-risk and unproven operation at the time.

Burl distinguished himself early as a writer and reporter with The Associated Press, eventually rising to the top of the wire service’s executive ranks. Then, against the advice of his colleagues, he sought an even greater challenge: joining The Dallas Morning News to lead the fight against rival newspaper Dallas Times Herald in one of America’s last great newspaper wars.

Burl was an unapologetic firebrand who nonetheless made far more friends than enemies. Admired across the country as a newspaperman's newspaperman, he was as respected by reporters as he was by the editors and publishers who became his ultimate peers. So great was his mark in journalism that even after his death in 2012, his legacy continues.