James A. Haught was born in 1932 in a small West Virginia farm town that had no electricity or paved streets. He graduated from a rural high school with 13 students in the senior class. He came to Charleston, worked as a delivery boy, then became a teen-age apprentice printer at the Charleston Daily Mail in 1951.
Developing a yen to be a reporter, Jim volunteered to work without pay in the Daily Mail newsroom on his days off, to learn the trade. This arrangement continued several months, until The Charleston Gazette offered a full-time news job in 1953. He has been at the Gazette ever since – except for a few months in 1959 when he was press aide to Sen. Robert Byrd.
During his half-century in newspaper life, Haught has been police reporter, religion columnist, feature writer and night city editor – then he was investigative reporter for 13 years, and his work led to several corruption convictions. In 1983 he was named associate editor, and in 1992 he became editor. He writes nearly 400 Gazette editorials a year, plus occasional personal columns and news articles.
Haught has won 19 national newswriting awards, and is author of eight books and 60 national magazine articles. Thirty of his columns have been distributed by national syndicates. He also is a senior editor of Free Inquiry magazine. He is listed in Who’s Who in America, and Contemporary Authors. He has four children, 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Personally, he enjoys hiking with Kanawha Trail Club, participating in a philosophy group at Edgewood Summit, and taking grandchildren swimming off his old sailboat at Lake Chaweva, where he lives. He is a longtime member of Charleston’s Unitarian Universalist Congregation.