William J. Eaton, 74, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the old Chicago Daily News who became director of a fellowship program at the University of Maryland's journalism school, died Aug. 23 at a hospice in Potomac. He had kidney failure and myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood disorder.
Long based in Washington, Mr. Eaton was awarded the Pulitzer for national reporting in 1970 for his articles for the Daily News on the protracted Senate confirmation fight over President Richard M. Nixon's unsuccessful nomination of U.S. Circuit Court Judge Clement J. Haynsworth Jr. to the Supreme Court.
Like several other hard-digging reporters of that era, he had the distinction of being on Nixon's "enemies list."
Shortly after the Daily News folded in 1978, he joined the Los Angeles Times bureau in Washington. As the newspaper's bureau chief in Moscow from 1984 to 1988, he became known for his dispatches quoting the Soviet man on the street about the effect of Mikhail S. Gorbachev's policies.
When artists defied government bans, he drove to open-air shows, studied their work and bought paintings, Times colleague Stanley Meisler told the Associated Press.
Back in Washington, Mr. Eaton covered Congress until retiring as a reporter in 1994.
He then was director of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program at the University of Maryland until 2002. The program brings foreign reporters, editors and media relations officials to the university's journalism school for a year of study.
The son of a plasterer, William James Eaton was a native of Chicago. He received bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from Northwestern University in the early 1950s.
After reporting work for the City News Bureau of Chicago and service in the Army, he joined United Press International as a Washington correspondent in 1955. He won a Nieman fellowship to study at Harvard University in 1962 and began work at the Chicago Daily News in Washington in 1966.
With AP reporter Frank Cormier, he wrote "Reuther" (1970), a biography of labor leader Walter P. Reuther. Mr. Eaton was a former president of the National Press Club.
He liked condensing plays by Shakespeare and performing them with friends at dinner parties at his home in Washington.
His marriage to Marilynn Myers Eaton ended in divorce. A daughter from that marriage, Susan Eaton, died in 2003.
Survivors include his wife, Carole Kennon Eaton of Washington; a daughter from his first marriage, Sally Misare of Castle Rock, Colo.; and two grandchildren.