R. Richard (Rich) Hood is Vice President and Editorial Page Editor of the Kansas City Star, a position he moved into after more than ten years as a political columnist and correspondent for the newspaper. He joined the staff of the Star in 1972 and has worked as a courthouse reporter, a bureau chief, a general columnist, suburban and state editor, and assistant city editor.
Mr. Hood was born in Joplin and he grew up on a farm between Joplin and Neosho. He attended Round Prairie, a one-room country school for eight years before riding a bus for four years to Neosho High School. He attended Jasper County Junior College, the fore-runner of Missouri Southern State College, where he and his wife, the former Margaret Ruddick, were the top-ranking boy and girl students before receiving their associate of arts degrees in 1965.
While in school, Mr. Hood worked nights writing obituaries and taking Friday night football scores at the Joplin Globe. He also was co-editor of the junior college newspaper, The Chart , before transferring to the University of Missouri where he received his Bachelor of Journalism degree in 1967. Then he followed work on newspapers in Chicago, Columbia, Mo., and in Europe while he was assigned to the U.S. Air Force.
After working on a master's degree in journalism at the University of Missouri, he joined the staff of the Star in 1972. During his years as a political columnist, he won national and state press association awards, and he has been honored for his investigative journalism including a series on conditions in mental hospitals in Kansas and Missouri. Mr. Hood was a member of the Kansas City Star staff that won the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Hyatt Regency Hotel collapse. In 1992 he and Gene Meyer received the Burton W. Martin Kansas News Enterprise Award from the William Allen White Foundation for their reporting on the Kansas public pension scandal.