Harry Covert, Alexandria Jail's Dynamic PIO, Retires | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Harry Covert, Alexandria Jail's Dynamic PIO, Retires

Play associated audio

Harry Covert, left, who is retiring from his role as public information officer at the Alexandria jail.

The Alexandria sheriff's office is celebrating the retirement of Harry Covert, a man who transformed the city jail into a focus of international attention. 

Most jails don't usually have Russian TV crews and British journalists conducting regular visits. But this is the Alexandria jail, where Zacharias Moussaoui -- one of the terrorists convicted after 9/11 -- was incarcerated, and where New York Times reporter Judith Miller spent three months in jail while she refused to reveal her source in the Valerie Plame case.

In addition, no other jail has Harry Covert, a longtime newspaperman turned bail bondsman turned public information officer. Covert served as the Alexandria jail's PIO for five years, and has worked for more than half a century in the news and information business. 

"Harry has single-handedly in the past five years put the agency back on the map," says Sheriff Dana Lawhorne.

While most jails shun publicity, Covert actively attracted it, holding inmate graduation ceremonies, motivational speakers, and inviting international media. 

Covert was one-of-a-kind, says James Gordon Meek, a former journalist who is now a congressional investigator. 

"Harry Covert is, even amongst the public affairs people I've dealt with in a long 17-year journalism career, an extremely unusual guy, probably owing to the fact that he is a newspaperman, originally and to the heart," Meek says. 

Covert says putting the jail on the map was a highlight in his career. "Most people are afraid when they go to a jail to visit, but it's really not a place to be afraid of," he says. 

Covert officially retires this week.

NPR

'F' Is For Fraudster In A Family Novel For Our Modern Times

Daniel Kehlmann's F, about three brothers abandoned by their father, examines the detail of lives lived without integrity. It is brilliantly translated from the German by Carol Brown Janeway.
NPR

No. 1 Most Expensive Coffee Comes From Elephant's No. 2

A coffee entrepreneur claims his brew is different — and better — than the trendy civet poop coffee. And it starts with the idea that elephants, unlike humans or civets, are herbivores.
WAMU 88.5

Maureen McDonnell Didn't Give Special Treatment To Star Scientific, Witness Testifies

A defense witness in the corruption trail against former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, says the former first lady often traveled the state promoting state businesses, countering the notion she gave special treatment to the company at the heart of the corruption trial.
NPR

The Momentum Of The Ice Bucket Challenge — And What It Means For ALS

A recent fundraising challenge has gone viral on social media, calling attention to research into Lou Gehrig's disease. Forbes contributor Dan Diamond discusses the state of that research.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.