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Journalist Brett Pulley Returns to 'Home by the Sea' for Founder's Day

Noted HU alum and journalist Brett Pulley was the keynote speaker for Hampton University’s 117th Annual Founder’s Day event.

Pulley, a member of the Class of 1980, was inducted into the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications Hall of Fame in 2002. His plaque is on the wall of the campus school. Pulley said he will come to HU to speak to the campus community on “inheritance.”

“I’ll discuss our inheritance as graduates, students, and faculty,” said Pulley, prior to the speech. He is proud of the strides and growth the university has had since his undergrad days: “Hampton continues to be one of the eminent institutions of higher learning.”

To this day Pulley continues to maintain strong ties to the university. He is a member of the university Board of Trustees.

“He’s a very influential member of the board,” said Yuri Milligan, director of University Relations at HU. “He is very connected to the university.”

Pulley’s primary focus on the board has been development and fund-raising efforts. The Proton Therapy Institute is among the more recent projects he has contributed to. “The Proton Therapy Project is one I’m very proud of,” Pulley said.

Among his career accomplishments, Pulley has written a high-profile biography of Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television. Titled “The Billion Dollar BET: Robert Johnson and the Inside Story of Black Entertainment Television,” Pulley was approached about writing the book after a Forbes magazine story he wrote on Johnson in 2001.

“It came about after the Forbes 500 Billionaires issue in which he was featured on the cover,” Pulley explained.

The biography received critical acclaim, and the public fascination in how the book was written has arguably attained as much attention as the details in it. Pulley wrote the book with no cooperation from Johnson at all, which forced Pulley to rely on other sources.

“The book may have had a different tone if he participated,” said Pulley.

Since graduating from HU in 1980, Brett Pulley went on to receive a master’s degree in journalism at Northwestern University in Illinois. He served as a national correspondent for the New York Times from 1994-1999.

After leaving the Times, Pulley served as a senior editor at Forbes magazine.

Other notable accomplishments include serving as the CEO of NewYork.com, and several television appearances. Pulley has provided commentary on entertainment issues on shows such as “Entertainment Tonight,” “Inside Edition,” “Access Hollywood,” and “Dateline.”

He currently covers the media and entertainment industries for Bloomberg news. Pulley’s stories are frequently posted on the company’s Web site, in its magazine, and he is a frequent commentator on Bloomberg Television.

A proud HU alum to his core, Pulley said he is excited about his return to his “Home by the Sea.”

“He can connect to the students as well as the rest of the university,” said Milligan.

Pulley looks forward to enlighten all Hamptonians on their “inheritance,” and celebrate the traditions that Gen. Samuel Chapman Armstrong established in 1868.

-Written by Christopher Torres
Christopher Torres is a print journalism major at Hampton University
Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.