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Vocapedia > Media > Journalists, Reporters





Isis, the war in Syria

and the dangers facing freelance journalists

Video    Guardian Explainers    8 September 2014


Freelance journalists

covering wars around the world

face many dangers,

including stray bullets,

shrapnel and kidnapping.


At least 52 journalists

have been killed in the field this year.


James Foley and Steven Sotloff,

who were recently murdered by Isis,

were both well trained

and experienced freelancers.


Many others are not,

traveling to modern conflicts

without sufficient protection.


Staff journalists have training, insurance

and large teams to back them up.


Some freelancers

have none of these protections

and yet media companies

rely on them to cover the stories.


Should large media organisations

be doing more to protect freelancers?


















A Mother's Personal Appeal to ISIS

NYT    27 August 2014





A Mother's Personal Appeal to ISIS

Video    The New York Times    27 August 2014


Shirley Sotloff’s son Steven

is being held by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.


In a video released to The New York Times,

she spoke directly to the group’s leader,

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.


Read the story here: http://nyti.ms/1C2F5zh

Watch more videos at: http://nytimes.com/video




















Trailer    20 August 2014






Video    Trailer    Global Road Entertainment    20 August 2014


NIGHTCRAWLER is a pulse-pounding thriller

set in the nocturnal underbelly of contemporary Los Angeles.

Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Lou Bloom,

a driven young man desperate for work

who discovers the high-speed world of L.A. crime journalism.

Finding a group of freelance camera crews

who film crashes, fires, murder and other mayhem,

Lou muscles into the cut-throat, dangerous realm of nightcrawling

-- where each police siren wail equals a possible windfall

and victims are converted into dollars and cents.


Aided by Rene Russo as Nina,

a veteran of the blood-sport that is local TV news, Lou thrives.

In the breakneck, ceaseless search for footage,

he becomes the star of his own story.


















journalism        UK












journalism        USA










the outsourcing of journalism        UK


























































gonzo journalism        USA






https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92581475 - July 16, 2008


https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92177996 - June 3, 2008


















copy boy        USA










newspaper man        USA










newsman        USA










journalist        UK




























journalist        USA



























women in journalism        USA










visual journalist        USA










visual investigations        UK


























newswomen > Barbara Jill Walters    1929-2022        USA


Barbara Walters (...)

broke barriers for women

as the first female co-host

of the “Today” show

and the first female anchor

of a network evening news program,

and who as an interviewer of celebrities

became one herself,

helping to blur the line

between news and entertainment
















on assignment        USA










journalist safety        UK
















































































































































































journalist safety > Mexico        USA


































story.php?storyId=97245418 - November 20, 2008
















correspondent        USA










foreign correspondent        UK












foreign correspondent        USA










prison correspondent        UK


podcast - Guardian podcast








female journalists        UK










war journalist > Sebastian Junger        UK










World War II > women journalists        USA










prison journalist        USA










Observer journalist Farzad Bazoft / فرزاد بازفت‎; 1958 - 1990 UK










be missing / be abducted        UK










radical journalist        UK












The Mirror's City Slickers column

how to manipulate the stock market        UK



















factchecking        USA










fact check        USA






















 Mr. Safer at “60 Minutes” in 1975.


Photograph: CBS Photo Archive


Morley Safer, Mainstay of ‘60 Minutes,’ Is Dead at 84


MAY 19, 2016





















ABC news        USA






NBC        USA











a news item





CBS > '60 Minutes'        USA

















Philip Meyer    USA    1930-2023


former reporter who pioneered new ways

to incorporate data,

quantitative methods and computers

into investigative journalism


With a career

spanning the latter half of the 20th century

and several years into the 21st,

Mr. Meyer was at the center of a revolution

within the craft and business of journalism

— a revolution that, to a large degree,

he helped shape.























Bernard Kalb    USA    1922-2022


veteran correspondent

for CBS, NBC and The New York Times

who also made a brief and unhappy foray

into government

as a State Department spokesman


In his many years on television,

Mr. Kalb’s sonorous voice,

thick eyebrows and command of detail

became familiar to millions of viewers.


He covered wars, revolutions

and the diplomatic breakthroughs

that presaged the end of the Cold War.


He reported for The Times from 1946 to 1962,

for CBS during the next 18 years

(during which he joined his brother, Marvin,

on the diplomatic beat)

and as NBC’s State Department correspondent

from 1980 to 1985.


Then, for nearly two years,

he served in the Reagan administration’s

State Department

— a stint that ended contentiously.


As a CBS correspondent in 1972,

Mr. Kalb accompanied

President Richard M. Nixon

on the trip to China

that proved to be a major step

in the normalization of relations

between the two nations.


He also made virtually every overseas trip

with Henry A. Kissinger, Cyrus R. Vance,

Edmund S. Muskie, Alexander M. Haig Jr.

and George P. Shultz

during their tenures as secretary of state.





















Barbara Jill Walters    USA    1929-2022


one of the most famous

American broadcast journalists


Though a celebrity

as much as anyone she covered,

Walters pursued serious subjects as well.


She was an unexpected pathbreaker.

And if you remember Walters

as a journalist who blurred the lines

between news and entertainment,

there is some truth to that.



























Lucinda Laura Franks    USA    1946-2021


widely published writer

and investigative journalist

who was the first woman

to win a Pulitzer Prize

for national reporting










Cornelius Mahoney Sheehan    USA    1936-2021


Times reporter

obtained the Pentagon Papers


His exhaustive coverage of the Vietnam War

also led to the book “A Bright Shining Lie,”

which won a National Book Award

and a Pulitzer Prize.





















Leslie Hunter Whitten Jr.    USA    1928-2017


Les Whitten


shared a byline with Jack Anderson

on a nationally syndicated

newspaper column

that mercilessly exposed

Washington’s foibles and frauds

and who once even spied

on J. Edgar Hoover,

the director of the F.B.I.










Wilson Floyd Minor    USA    1922-2017


Bill Minor ('s)

courageous reporting

helped open Americans’ eyes

to everyday racial discrimination

in the South in the 1960s

and won him recognition

as the “conscience of Mississippi”










Clare Hollingworth    UK    1911-2017


Fearless war correspondent

who established her reputation

with a brilliant scoop

about the outbreak

of the second world war










Sydney Hillel Schanberg    USA    1934-2016


correspondent for The New York Times

who won a Pulitzer Prize

for covering Cambodia’s

fall to the Khmer Rouge in 1975

and inspired the film “The Killing Fields”

with the story

of his Cambodian colleague’s survival

during the genocide of millions




A restive, intense, Harvard-educated

newspaperman with bulldog tenacity,

Mr. Schanberg was a nearly ideal

foreign correspondent:

a risk-taking adventurer

who distrusted officials,

relied on himself in a war zone

and wrote vividly

of political and military tyrants

and of the suffering and death

of their victims with the passion

of an eyewitness to history.











Morley Safer    CAN / USA    1931-2016


CBS television correspondent

who brought the horrors of the Vietnam War

into the living rooms of America

in the 1960s

and was a mainstay of the network’s

news magazine “60 Minutes”

for almost five decades





100000004422924/morley-safer-1931-2016.html - May 19, 2016










Bob Simon    USA    1941-2015


award-winning CBS News correspondent

whose career spanned nearly 50 years

and many major world conflicts











Esther Kartiganer    USA    1938-2012


as senior producer in charge

of vetting content on CBS’s “60 Minutes”,

(she) became entangled in a controversy

over a program that raised questions

about President George W. Bush’s

military service during the Vietnam War











Mike Wallace / Myron Leon Wallace    USA    1918-2012


CBS reporter who became

one of the nation’s

best-known broadcast journalists

as an interrogator

of the famous and infamous on “60 Minutes”











John Gunther    USA    1901-1970


















investigative film


















M. e. Cohen



23 March 2006


U.S. Secretary of Defense (2001-2006) Donald Rumsfeld



































































reporter        UK / USA


















































































investigative reporter        USA





sam-cooper-interview-china-canada-influence - Jan. 6, 2023










expose        USA


sam-cooper-interview-china-canada-influence - Jan. 6, 2023








stringer        USA










 work as a stringer        USA










freelance reports        USA










war reporting        UK













war reporting        USA










war reporter        USA










Richard Beebe Dudman    USA    1918-2017


much-traveled reporter

for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

who spent more than a month

in captivity in Cambodia

after being ambushed by Vietcong fighters

and later survived an assassination attempt

after meeting the Cambodian dictator Pol Pot




Mr. Dudman’s career in journalism

lasted more than three quarters of a century.


He was in Dallas

when President John F. Kennedy

was assassinated and,

after oversleeping

and missing a flight back to Washington,

dropped by the police station

where Lee Harvey Oswald was being held

and watched as he was gunned down

by Jack Ruby.


He covered the 1956 Arab-Israeli War,

filed stories from Havana

when Fidel Castro toppled

the Batista government

and covered wars and revolutions

in Guatemala, Argentina,

Burma (now Myanmar),

Ireland, El Salvador,

the Dominican Republic,

Algeria, Laos and China.


He made his first reporting trip

to South Vietnam in 1962 and,

concluding early on

that the war was a doomed enterprise,

became one of the first American reporters

to question the official narrative

dispensed by military

and government officials.


In 1965,

while preparing a series of pessimistic reports,

he wrote to his colleague Marquis W. Childs,

“The war is being lost, and in a hurry.”











Michael David Herr    1940-2016        USA


Michael Herr ('s) depictions of Vietnam

redefined the genre of war reporting












Reporting Bosnia's war:

Maggie O'Kane remembers - video        UK        April 5, 2012


Maggie O'Kane

looks back at her time working

as a foreign correspondent

for the Guardian in Sarajevo

while it was under siege

between 1992 and 1996.


She talks about her time

reporting war crimes

in the town of Visegrad

to her front page story

about Manjac concentration camp

where 2,500 Muslims and Croats

were held










print and broadcast reporter        USA










Reporters Without Borders        UK










reporter > Luke Harding        UK










reporter > Steven C. Vincent        USA










undercover reporter        UK














‘death knock’        UK








































war > embedded        USA


story.php?storyId=1961891 - June 17, 2004








embedded reporters > embedded artist > Steve Mumford        USA


- September 19, 2005
















Watergate > journalism legend Ben Bradlee        USA

















correspondent        USA










BBC’s Lyse Doucet

BBC’s chief international correspondent        UK










Charles Wheeler    1923-2008        UK

BBC's longest-serving foreign correspondent









foreign correspondent        UK






foreign correspondent        USA








dispatch        UK





















interviewer > Jeremy Paxman        UK






on / off the record































Nate Thayer    USA    1960-2022


last Western correspondent to interview

the murderous Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot

after tracking him in the jungles of Cambodia

for nearly a decade





In the late 1980s,

Thayer worked

as a stringer on the Thai-Cambodian border,

contributing freelance reports

to the Associated Press,

the Far Eastern Economic Review,

The Phnom Penh Post,

Agence France-Presse

and Soldier of Fortune magazine,

among others.


















John Corry    USA    ?- 2022


Times Reporter and TV Critic


Among his best known articles

were one that helped

clear a man of killing his mother

and one that disputed plagiarism charges

against Jerzy Kosinski.










Tim Giago / Nanwica Kciji    1934-2022        USA


American Oglala Lakota

journalist and publisher.


outspoken founder

of the first independently owned

Native American newspaper

in the United States,

who challenged discriminatory government policies,

American Indian stereotypes in popular culture

and, at times, tribal leaders themselves,












Marlene Sanders    USA    1931-2015


one of the first women

to break into television journalism,

where she compiled a stellar résumé

as a reporter in the field

and an Emmy-winning writer

and producer of documentaries











1960s > civil rights

Claude Fox Sitton (1925-2015)

New York Times correspondent / reporter


a son of the South

whose unwavering coverage

of the civil rights movement

for The New York Times

through most of that era’s

tumultuous years

was hailed as a benchmark

of 20th-century journalism















Dolores Judith Maynard    USA    1958-2015


journalist who was at the forefront

of the campaign to make

the American news media

a more accurate mirror

of American diversity










Arnaud de Borchgrave    1926-2015


Belgian count’s son

and storied foreign correspondent

who cabled back bell-ringing scoops

throughout the Cold War decades,

often from the battlefield










Richard Leaf West    UK    1930-2015


Richard West


was the paragon

of the independent journalist

for his generation.


He travelled light,

wrote beautifully,

was contemptuous

of fashions and ideologies,

and had little interest

in fame or money.


Immensely productive

– he wrote 18 books

as well as a lifetime’s

newspaper reportage –

he worked mainly

to earn the fare and expenses

for the next journey.










James Wright Foley    USA    1973-2014        UK / USA


freelance journalist kidnapped in Syria

in November 2012

and executed by Islamist extremists

in August 2014


































Henry Chapman Pincher    UK    1914-2014


Chapman Pincher

was ballyhooed by his own newspaper,

The London Daily Express,

as the world’s greatest reporter,

and he introduced himself as such.


He insinuated himself

into the murky world of spy chiefs,

generals, politicians and royalty

by taking them to lunch

at a fine French restaurant,

say, or joining them

for pheasant hunting

and salmon fishing.



















Jim Frederick


Photograph: Peter Hapak for Time


Jim Frederick Dies at 42,

Journalist Wrote Book About Iraq War Crime


AUG. 7, 2014
















James Durkin Frederick    USA    1971-2014


former foreign correspondent

and editor whose 2010 book

about an atrocity committed

by American soldiers in Iraq

was praised

for its thorough reporting and acuity

in parsing the psychological erosion

of men in war










war reporter > Anja Niedringhaus    ? - 2014














Parliamentary sketchwriter

Simon David Hoggart    UK    1946-2014






















Herbert Elias Kaplow    USA    1927-2013


longtime Washington correspondent

who for more than four decades

brought an authoritative voice

to his reporting from all 50 states

and more than 50 countries

for NBC News and ABC News











Helen Thomas    USA    1920-2013


trailblazing White House correspondent

in a press corps dominated by men

and who was later regarded as

the dean of the White House briefing room









Gilbert Edward Noble    USA    1932-2012


television journalist who hosted “Like It Is,”

an award-winning Sunday morning

public affairs program in New York,

one of the longest-running in the country

dedicated to showcasing black leadership

and the African-American experience











war reporter > Anthony Shadid    1968-2012


two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning

foreign correspondent who (...)

had long been passionately

interested in the Middle East,

first because

of his Lebanese-American heritage

and later because

of what he saw there firsthand.





















UK > Marie Catherine Colvin    1956-2012        UK


fearless but never foolhardy

war correspondent

who believed passionately in the need

to report on conflicts from the frontline.


In a career spanning 30 years,

she covered wars

from around the world

for the Sunday Times

and was renowned

for her compassionate, clear writing.




























Richard Threlkeld    USA    1937-2012


in his 33 years  as a correspondent

for CBS and ABC News,

Richard Threlkeld covered wars,

presidential campaigns, assassinations

and the collapse of the Soviet Union










Harold Robinson Bruno Jr.    USA    1928-2011


Hal Bruno

helped shape political coverage

at ABC News for nearly two decades

and was a frequent analyst

on its radio and television broadcasts










William Henry Patrick Kunkel    USA    1950-2011


Bill Kunkel

helped invent video game journalism

and create the first video game magazine

in the United States










Thomas Grey Wicker    USA    1926-2011


Tom Wicker,

one of postwar America’s

most distinguished journalists,

wrote 20 books,

covered the assassination

of President John F. Kennedy

for The New York Times

and became the paper’s

Washington bureau chief

and an iconoclastic political columnist

for 25 years










Andrew Aitken Rooney    USA    1919-2011


his prickly wit

was long a mainstay of CBS News

and his homespun commentary

on “60 Minutes,”

delivered every week

from 1978 until 2011,

made him a household name












Murray William Sayle    1926-2010


Early in his tenure

at The Sunday Times of London,

Murray Sayle reported

on the escape of an eagle

from the London Zoo

by following the bird

around Regent’s Park

on a bicycle.


It was a minor story

in a major journalistic career,

but it suggested Mr. Sayle’s

inventive and audacious

approach to his job:

he would go anywhere

and get there

by any means necessary.










Combat and courtoom artist > Howard Joe Brodie    USA    1915-2010


noted combat artist

during World War II

who went on to sketch

some of the most famous

courtroom dramas of the postwar era,

including the trials of the Chicago Seven,

Charles Manson and Patty Hearst










James Richard Hughes Bacon    USA    1914-2010


James Bacon

spent six decades

chronicling Hollywood’s biggest stars

as a reporter,

author and syndicated columnist










Edwin Harold Newman    USA    1919-2010


An anchor on the “Today” show

in the early 1960s

and a familiar presence on the program

for many years afterward,

Mr. Newman also appeared regularly

on “Meet the Press.”










Daniel Schorr    USA    1916-2010


Over 70 years,

Daniel Schorr's

aggressive reporting over 70 years

as a respected broadcast and print journalist

brought him into conflict with censors,

the Nixon administration

and network superiors.












Steven Wells    1960-2009

journalist, music critic and author


















Hugh John Montgomery-Massingberd    1946-2007

journalist, editor and author










David Halberstam    1934-2007

prize-winning author and reporter









fashion journalist > Isabella Blow    UK    1958-2007










Time journalist > Pham Xuan An    USA    1927-2006


















Orwell prize for political reporting        UK










investigative journalism > George Polk Awards        USA


propublicas-covid-19-stories-win-polk-award-for-health-reporting - 24 February 2021











































The Pulitzer Prizes        UK / USA






















The Pulitzer Prizes        UK / USA

- public service award,

considered the top prize,

-  international reporting

-  illustrated reporting

- commentary

- breaking news photography






russia-ukraine-europe-edf7240a9d990e7e3e32f82ca351dede - March 22, 2022








Julian Assange

wins Martha Gellhorn journalism prize    June 2011

























story, stories        UK










news piece        UK










pieces        UK

















fake a report








fake news








faking and publishing a front-page confession by N










piece of fiction
















USA > fabrication        UK










USA > fabricated quotes        UK










doctored photo








fake photo








movies > 1983 > USA >


examines the consciences

of three ambitious, globe-trotting journalists,

each presented as being tops in his or her field,

nd decides that there comes a time

when a journalist must forget impartiality

and become committed.












movies > 1974 > Billy Wilder's The Front Page










hoax / hoax















file photo








undated photo








paparazzi photo








photo opportunity
























cover        USA












coverage        USA











impartial and factually accurate news coverage








news gathering        USA


















money news










showbiz celebrity gossip










hype up / sex up / pump up





corrections and clarifications        UK























he's been quoted as saying...





be misquoted





deny a story

























obituary writer        USA






Sports writer > Ian Wooldridge        UK





spoof        UK
















photography > New York Times

Assistant Managing Editor Michele McNally        USA











Corpus of news articles


Media > Journalists, Reporters




In the Age of the Smartphone,

We Need War Reporters

More Than Ever


July 29, 2023, 7:00 a.m. ET

Tne New York Times



We are living in the most thoroughly documented time in human existence. There are billions of us carrying cameras in our pockets, and the videos we make ricochet across the internet with astonishing ease: silly things, like dance moves and pratfalls, along with deadly serious things, like police officers murdering unarmed civilians or children choking on chemical weapons.

And yet we see through a glass darkly. We consume a stream of snippets, served to us chopped up and sometimes algorithmically curated, often stripped of context.

It is precisely because of this never-ending stream of images that the devastating new documentary “20 Days in Mariupol” seared into my brain when I saw it in a theater last week. The film is the work of an astonishingly brave team of Ukrainian journalists who remained in the city of Mariupol at the very beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, risking their lives to document the siege.

If you paid any attention to the news from Ukraine then, you probably saw some of this team’s work. Mstyslav Chernov, a Ukrainian journalist and filmmaker, along with Evgeniy Maloletka, a still photographer, and Vasilisa Stepanenko, a field producer, documented the siege for The Associated Press.

They were, after a fashion, accidental war correspondents. War arrived on their doorstep, and each of them, somehow, found the courage to meet it. Chernov was an artist who increasingly moved to making news photos and videos when Russia menaced and ultimately invaded Ukraine. Stepanenko, the daughter of a pioneer of hip-hop dance in Ukraine, was just 22 years old during the siege of Mariupol. She chose journalism as a career because she had grown up in a city a couple of dozen miles from the border, in the shadow of Russian aggression. Maloletka cut his teeth photographing Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine.

Newscasts led with snippets of their footage, demonstrating in the starkest terms just how pitiless Vladimir Putin’s prosecution of the invasion would be: Doctors frantically perform CPR on a lifeless toddler. A father wails over the body of his 16-year-old son, who died after his legs were blown off by an airstrike during a soccer game. A woman on the verge of giving birth is carried out of a bombed hospital, dazed, bleeding, clutching her swollen belly.

Woven into a documentary that unfolds over 95 excruciating minutes, these moments become something else: a chronicle of what it means to witness and document atrocity, the extraordinary risks these journalists took to tell these stories.

I recently returned to field reporting after a decade as an editor and media executive, working safely behind a desk and in conference rooms, to discover a changed world for journalists. The crucial concept of the neutrality of journalists in conflict, a tenuously accepted idea in the best of times, has all but vanished amid a thicket of propaganda, lies and disinformation. I have watched helplessly as friends and colleagues have been jailed, beaten and killed simply for trying to do their work with honor and integrity.

This work has always been difficult and dangerous, but it has become ever more so, most especially for journalists like those who made this film: local journalists, many of them freelancers for international organizations, covering brutal events unfolding in their own backyards.

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Since 2003, about 1,700 journalists have been killed in the line of duty around the world. The deaths of Western journalists tend to get the most attention: the horror of reporters beheaded by the Islamic State; celebrated photographers who died under artillery fire in the post-Arab Spring battle for Libya; a legendary foreign correspondent killed by government shelling in the Syrian city of Homs.

But the butcher’s bill is the longest for local journalists covering the crises in their homelands, countries like Syria, Iraq and Yemen, as well as places like Mexico, where drug cartels frequently target journalists for assassination. Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, at least 17 journalists have been killed in Ukraine, 11 of them Ukrainian.

Governments are jailing more journalists, too. Last year, the number of detained journalists spiked to 363, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, in authoritarian countries like China, Eritrea, Iran and Myanmar but also in troubled democracies like Turkey. (Disclosure: I serve on C.P.J.’s board.) As I write this, Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, has been held prisoner by the Russian government for more than 100 days for simply doing his job.

I’ve seen the growing danger firsthand. Last fall, I traveled to Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, where I was once able to walk deep into the city’s sprawling slums to interview residents about their lives. This time, amid open gang warfare and a plague of kidnappings, I had no choice but to travel around the city in a sport utility vehicle convoy with an armed guard. In Haiti, a country under siege by warring gangs aligned to powerful political and business interests, at least seven journalists were killed in 2022, and at least two have been killed this year.

Last month, I went to the borderlands between Sudan and Chad to report on the crisis engulfing Darfur. I have visited the area many times, even crossing the border on foot to try to document war crimes in Sudan when the Sudanese government refused to permit me to enter Darfur legally. These days the region has become so lawless, and respect for the vital work of journalists so meaningless, that I was required by the Chadian authorities to travel with a security detail.

So it is not surprising that images like the ones captured in “20 Days in Mariupol” feel so vanishingly rare.

A pivotal scene in the film comes on Day 14 of the siege, March 9. Russian troops have just bombed a maternity hospital. A heavily pregnant woman is carried out on a stretcher, gravely wounded and apparently in shock. Women clutching infants stream out of the bombed-out building. A little boy screams for his mother.

The team runs to the scene, cameras rolling, and captures it all.

And then comes the hard part: How to send these images to the team’s editors at The Associated Press? The cellphone networks have been down for days. Chernov and his team have dodged airstrikes to capture this atrocity. Can they safely get it out to the world?

A police officer named Volodymyr tells Chernov that he knows a place — just outside a looted supermarket there is a patch of cellphone signal. They drive there, a risky proposition given the warplanes streaking over the city. A plane roars overhead. The team dives behind a stairwell for safety.

“Is there internet?” someone asks.

“Volodymyr said the footage from the maternity hospital would change the course of the war,” Chernov narrates over these scenes. “But we have seen so many dead people. Dead children. How could more death change anything?”

Despite the exceptional courage of the team and the remarkable scenes they capture, a feeling of futility hangs over the film. It’s not hard to understand why. Most of us got into journalism hoping to change the world. Surely, showing atrocities will lead to action. But the more common pattern is this: A horror is revealed, and then, for a long time, not much happens.

The massacre at My Lai was exposed in 1969; it surely increased domestic opposition to the war in Vietnam, but it hardly led directly to the end of the pointless slaughter there, which came years later.

The publication of the torture photos from Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad was shocking. But it hardly slowed, much less halted, America’s slide toward ever escalating atrocities in the “war on terror.”

The revelation that Syria’s dictator, Bashar al-Assad, had used chemical weapons that maimed and killed children brought global condemnation but little action. Today the regional foes who once swore to isolate and remove Assad from power are beckoning him back into the fold of acceptable autocrats.

I asked Chernov about this. A few times in the documentary he mentions being apart from his young daughters. Each day in Mariupol risked a greater chance he might never see them again. If he was so unsure of the impact of his work, why stay?

“If you don’t do anything, you also feel like a criminal,” Chernov told me. “Like you are helping the killers. You are helping the criminals to continue to do their crimes. And I can’t. After all we lived through, this is not something I can do. I am aware that my efforts are not as productive as I would want them to be. But still, at least, at least do something.”

As he spoke, I thought of another journalist I admire, working half a world away. Hiba Morgan, a journalist of Sudanese and South Sudanese origin, is one of the few reporters still working in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. She is the correspondent for Al Jazeera, and with her team she has documented at great peril the street-by-street fight between two rival generals and their troops to control the city and the country. The fighting has stretched on for more than three months, killing thousands of people. Her team had had many close calls — stray bullets and wayward artillery coming uncomfortably close. When I called her recently, she listened for incoming airstrikes or gun battles that ricocheted too close as we talked. I asked her what kept her here, when so many others had fled.

“A couple of weeks ago we went to a hospital, and the doctors were running out of medicines,” she told me. They needed to remove a bullet from a 7-year-old boy. They didn’t have enough anesthesia to put him under, so they used a local anesthetic.

“You could clearly hear the child was crying and in pain,“ she said. “We came out of that, we were all crying as well, and we had a chat afterward. We all wondered, what are we doing? And I think we know that it may not make a difference now, but we’re documenting history. We are creating a record. People will know what happened here.”

Her words made me realize that Chernov’s film left me feeling something that was quite the opposite of futility. Morgan, like Chernov, is a journalist committed to going to and staying in the hard places, the painful ones, and telling the stories of the people she finds there. These brave journalists do this work not because they think they can make an immediate difference, but because doing nothing in the face of such cruelty is intolerable. Their work is humbling, inspiring and necessary. It demands and requires our rapt attention.

In the Age of the Smartphone,
We Need War Reporters More Than Evern
July 2ç, 2023,






Richard Dudman,

Reporter at Center

of History’s Churn,

Dies at 99


AUG. 4, 2017

The New York Times



Richard Dudman, a much-traveled reporter for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch who spent more than a month in captivity in Cambodia after being ambushed by Vietcong fighters and later survived an assassination attempt after meeting the Cambodian dictator Pol Pot, died on Thursday in Blue Hill, Me. He was 99.

The death was confirmed by his daughter, Iris Dudman.

Mr. Dudman’s career in journalism lasted more than three quarters of a century. He was in Dallas when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and, after oversleeping and missing a flight back to Washington, dropped by the police station where Lee Harvey Oswald was being held and watched as he was gunned down by Jack Ruby.

He covered the 1956 Arab-Israeli War, filed stories from Havana when Fidel Castro toppled the Batista government and covered wars and revolutions in Guatemala, Argentina, Burma (now Myanmar), Ireland, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Algeria, Laos and China.

He made his first reporting trip to South Vietnam in 1962 and, concluding early on that the war was a doomed enterprise, became one of the first American reporters to question the official narrative dispensed by military and government officials. In 1965, while preparing a series of pessimistic reports, he wrote to his colleague Marquis W. Childs, “The war is being lost, and in a hurry.”

As the Washington bureau chief for The Post-Dispatch, Mr. Dudman secured and published excerpts from the government’s classified history of the war, known as the Pentagon Papers, after the courts barred The New York Times and The Washington Post from printing any further material.

His taste for adventure occasionally led him down dangerous roads. In 1970, he and two colleagues, Elizabeth Pond of The Christian Science Monitor and Michael Morrow of Dispatch News Service International, tried to drive from Saigon to Phnom Penh to report on the developing covert war in Cambodia.

At a roadblock halfway between the border and Phnom Penh, three Vietcong fighters, brandishing assault rifles, emerged from the trees along the road and took the reporters captive, convinced that they were C.I.A. spies. Mr. Dudman turned to his colleagues and said, “If we get out of this alive, we’ll have a hell of a good story.”

A coolheaded Vietnamese general, Bay Cao, eventually intervened and ensured better treatment of the three prisoners — on Ho Chi Minh’s birthday, they enjoyed a feast of roast dog. After six weeks, Mr. Dudman and his colleagues were taken to a road and left to hitchhike back to Saigon. Mr. Dudman described his ordeal in “Forty Days With the Enemy,” published in 1971.

Cambodia had not finished with him. In 1978, he and Elizabeth Becker of The Washington Post and Malcolm Caldwell, a leftist Scottish economist, secured a meeting with Pol Pot, becoming the first Western writers to travel through Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge takeover in 1974.

The hoped-for interview never materialized. After a handshake that Mr. Dudman found unnerving — Pol Pot had delicate, tapering fingers and soft skin — the dictator held court.

“He spoke in a quiet monotone as we sweltered in tropical sunshine that flooded the room and brushed away the flies that buzzed around the orange juice,” Mr. Dudman wrote in The Post-Dispatch in 2015. “He spoke in Cambodian, Foreign Minister Ieng Sary put the Cambodian into French, and another official translated into English. Before getting to our questions, Pol Pot launched into a diatribe against the Vietnamese.”

He added, “We tried to break in with questions, but he ignored them and rolled right on.”

Mr. Dudman did manage to take one of the few known photographs of Pol Pot.

The following night, Mr. Dudman heard gunshots in the guesthouse where he and his colleagues were staying. Stepping out into the hallway, he faced an attacker, who began shooting at him with a pistol. Mr. Dudman dashed back into his room, dodging bullets, and hid behind his bed.

Two hours later, a Cambodian escort officer appeared. “He told me that Becker was safe but that Caldwell had been killed and I should view his body,” Mr. Dudman wrote in The Post-Dispatch in 1997. “The young terrorist was sprawled dead in the doorway. And Caldwell’s body lay on his bed with a gaping wound in his chest.”

The motivation for the attack, and the identity of the gunman and two accomplices, remained unknown.

Richard Beebe Dudman was born on May 3, 1918, in Centerville, Iowa, to Virgil Ernest Dudman, a gynecologist and obstetrician, and the former Wilma Beebe. The family moved to Portland, Ore., two years later.

Mr. Dudman enrolled in Stanford University with ideas of becoming a doctor, but lost his nerve when it came time to dissect a frog. He began reporting and taking photographs for The Stanford Daily and, on summer vacations in Northern California, worked for The Mercury-Register, in Oroville, a newspaper owned by his uncle.

After graduating in 1940 with a degree in economics and journalism, he joined the merchant marine, serving on a freighter that transported war matériel across the North Atlantic. In 1942, he enlisted in the Navy Reserves and spent four years on an armed supply ship that led convoys to Europe and North Africa.

He was hired as a reporter by The Denver Post and joined The Post-Dispatch in 1949. He reported from around the world for the newspaper and in 1954 was assigned to its Washington bureau. He became bureau chief in 1969 and held the position until retiring in 1981.

Mr. Dudman, desperate to get a piece of the story, chafed when The Times began printing excerpts from the Pentagon Papers in mid-June 1971. A chance meeting with the left-wing journalist I. F. Stone, a good friend, led him to Leonard Boudin, a radical lawyer and Mr. Stone’s brother-in-law, with whom Mr. Dudman had an inconclusive conversation.

“That same day, an anonymous caller said he understood I wanted a batch of the papers,” Mr. Dudman wrote in The Post-Dispatch in 1996. “He said I should send someone to Cambridge, Mass., to wait in a certain public phone booth at a certain time the next day for further instructions.”

Thomas W. Ottenad, the newspaper’s political reporter, flew to Cambridge, where, at the appointed phone booth, he was told to go to a second phone booth. There he received instructions to look under a stack of newspapers on a table on the upstairs back porch of a Cambridge rowhouse. There he uncovered a trove of classified material, which he, Mr. Dudman and James Deakin distilled in 38 articles. The newspaper published them the next day.

To Mr. Dudman’s annoyance, however, The Post-Dispatch, on the advice of its lawyers, held off publishing further material from the Pentagon Papers until the Supreme Court handed down a decision on the injunctions against The Times and The Post.

After retiring from The Post-Dispatch, Mr. Dudman continued to file special assignment stories. When his wife, the former Helen Sloane, bought two radio stations in Maine, he accompanied her to Ellsworth, intending to build boats.

Instead, he spent nine years as a managing editor of South-North News Service in Hanover N.H., editing copy from foreign correspondents. From 2000 to 2012, he wrote two editorials a week for The Bangor Daily News. In 1993, he was given the George Polk Career Award for his foreign reporting.

In addition to his daughter Iris and his wife, who was executive women’s editor of The Washington Post in the 1960s, he is survived by another daughter, Martha Tod Dudman, and four grandchildren.

Mr. Dudman’s last day on the job at The Post-Dispatch was eventful. Word came in that a gunman had shot Ronald Reagan outside the Washington Hilton, not far away from the newspaper’s offices. Like a racehorse hearing the bugle, Mr. Dudman ran out the door and up Connecticut Avenue, pen and notebook in hand. His story ran the next day.

He had a motto: “Reporter who sits on hot story gets ass burned.”

Richard Dudman, Reporter at Center of History’s Churn, Dies at 99,
Aug. 4, 2017,






Gil Noble,

Host of Pioneering TV Show

Focusing on Black Issues,

Dies at 80


April 5, 2012

The New York Times



Gil Noble, a television journalist who hosted “Like It Is,” an award-winning Sunday morning public affairs program in New York, one of the longest-running in the country dedicated to showcasing black leadership and the African-American experience, died on Thursday in a hospital in Wayne, N.J. He was 80.

The cause was complications of a stroke he had last summer, said Dave Davis, president and general manager of WABC-TV, which had broadcast “Like It Is” since 1968.

Though broadcast only in the New York metropolitan area, “Like It Is” attracted guests of national and international influence. Some were controversial. His interviews with figures like Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam drew complaints of one-sidedness. But for Mr. Noble, that was the point:

“My response to those who complained that I didn’t present the other side of the story was that this show was the other side of the story,” he said in 1982.

His interviews comprised a veritable archive of contemporary black history in America: hundreds of hourlong conversations with political and cultural figures like Lena Horne, Fannie Lou Hamer, Bill Cosby, Sammy Davis Jr., Muhammad Ali, Andrew Young, Dizzy Gillespie and Stokely Carmichael.

Mr. Noble viewed “Like It Is” as a platform for ideas and perspectives — especially those of blacks — that were missing from the mainstream news media. He once called his show “the antidote to the 6 and 11 o’clock news.”

His one-on-one exchanges with African and Caribbean heads of state, including Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, Michael Manley of Jamaica and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, were part of another mission: to report on events affecting people of African descent throughout the world.

“You learned a lot watching Gil,” former Mayor David N. Dinkins of New York said in an interview for this obituary. “You didn’t have to agree with everything he said, but for many of us, he was required watching.”

The deep support Mr. Noble enjoyed among his viewers helped him survive two controversies stemming from interviews with figures considered anti-Semitic, biased against Israel or both. In 1982, the Anti-Defamation League accused Mr. Noble of showing an anti-Israel bias when he broadcast a panel discussion about the Israeli invasion of Lebanon without presenting the Israeli perspective.

Just the rumor of disciplinary action prompted protests outside WABC headquarters, led by the Rev. Calvin O. Butts, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, and the Rev. Al Sharpton. No disciplinary action was taken, but Mr. Noble was required to present a program with pro-Israeli guests.

Similar tensions arose in the summer of 1991, when Mr. Noble made plans to broadcast a speech in which a friend, Leonard Jeffries, a City College professor of black studies, was said to have made bigoted remarks. News reports had led to Mr. Jeffries’s removal as chairman of the black studies department.

Mr. Noble argued that only by hearing the speech in full could college officials (and everyone else) decide whether the remarks were cause for discipline or had been taken out of context. (In one remark, Mr. Jeffries said Hollywood movies demeaning to blacks were made by “people called Greenberg and Weisberg and Trigliani.” In another, he said, “Everyone knows rich Jews financed the slave trade.”)

WABC-TV executives shelved the segment, saying it could aggravate racial unrest in the city. As it happened, long-simmering tensions between blacks and Jews in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn exploded into violence the next week.

Protesters again appeared outside the station’s offices. This time, they included a state senator, later to be governor of New York, David A. Paterson.

“It was a spontaneous protest as I recall,” Mr. Paterson said in an interview. “People just showed up. Because ‘Like It Is’ — it was something special in the African-American community, to be protected.” A segment on the Jeffries affair was eventually shown later.

“Some white Americans are repelled by ‘Like It Is,’ but that’s the nature of the program,” Mr. Noble told The Village Voice later that year. “We are witnessing a quarrel between the races in America, and certain opinions in the black community must be heard even if they are revolting.”

After Mr. Noble’s stroke, WABC-TV began broadcasting “Here and Now,” a public affairs show it described as “continuing the legacy of Gil Noble.”

Gilbert Edward Noble was born in Harlem on Feb. 22, 1932, the son of Rachel Noble, a teacher, and Gilbert R. Noble, who owned an auto repair shop. Both parents were born in Jamaica. He attended City College and was drafted into the Army during the Korean War.

Mr. Noble was hired as a reporter for the radio station WLIB in 1962. In 1967, after nationwide race riots that prompted television stations around the country to recruit some of their first black reporters, he was hired by WABC. He worked as reporter, weekend anchor and sometime correspondent for “Like It Is,” a show begun in 1968, before taking over as its host in 1975. He received seven Emmy Awards.

Mr. Noble’s survivors include his wife, Norma Jean; their four daughters, Lynn, Lisa, Leslie and Jennifer; a son, Chris; and eight grandchildren.

Milton Allimadi, a former publisher of the Harlem-based newspaper Black Star News and an occasional guest on Mr. Noble’s show, described the special regard in which Mr. Noble was held in the community he served.

After Mr. Allimadi appeared as a guest on the show, strangers stopped him on the street to shake his hand, he wrote in an online appreciation last August. “When I enter an M.T.A. bus, drivers refuse to accept my fare,” he wrote, “saying they are happy to drive someone who has been on ‘Like It Is.’ ”

Gil Noble, Host of Pioneering TV Show Focusing on Black Issues,
Dies at 80,






Anthony Shadid,

Reporter in the Middle East,

Dies at 43


February 16, 2012

The New York Times



Anthony Shadid, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent who died on Thursday at 43, had long been passionately interested in the Middle East, first because of his Lebanese-American heritage and later because of what he saw there firsthand.

Mr. Shadid spent most of his professional life covering the region, as a reporter first with The Associated Press; then The Boston Globe; then with The Washington Post, for which he won Pulitzer Prizes in 2004 and 2010; and afterward with The New York Times. At his death, from what appeared to be an asthma attack, he was on assignment for The Times in Syria.

Mr. Shadid’s hiring by The Times at the end of 2009 was widely considered a coup for the newspaper, for he had been esteemed throughout his career as an intrepid reporter, a keen observer, an insightful analyst and a lyrical stylist. Much of his work centered on ordinary people who had been forced to pay an extraordinary price for living in the region — or belonging to the religion, ethnic group or social class — that they did.

He was known most recently to Times readers for his clear-eyed coverage of the Arab Spring. For his reporting on that sea change sweeping the region — which included dispatches from Lebanon and Egypt — The Times nominated him, along with a team of his colleagues, for the 2012 Pulitzer in international reporting. (The awards are announced in April.)

In its citation accompanying the nomination, The Times wrote:

“Steeped in Arab political history but also in its culture, Shadid recognized early on that along with the despots, old habits of fear, passivity and despair were being toppled. He brought a poet’s voice, a deep empathy for the ordinary person and an unmatched authority to his passionate dispatches.”

Mr. Shadid’s work entailed great peril. In 2002, as a correspondent for The Globe, he was shot in the shoulder while reporting in Ramallah, in the West Bank. Last March, Mr. Shadid and three other Times journalists — Lynsey Addario, Stephen Farrell and Tyler Hicks — were kidnapped in Libya by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces. They were held for six days and beaten before being released.

Later that year, as the Syrian authorities denounced him for his coverage and as his family was being stalked by Syrian agents in Lebanon, Mr. Shadid nonetheless stole across the border to interview Syrian protesters who had defied bullets and torture to return to the streets.

“He had such a profound and sophisticated understanding of the region,” Martin Baron, the editor of The Boston Globe, for whom Mr. Shadid worked during his tenure there, said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “More than anything, his effort to connect foreign coverage with real people on the ground, and to understand their lives, is what made his work so special. It wasn’t just a matter of diplomacy: it was a matter of people, and how their lives were so dramatically affected by world events.”

Mr. Shadid was born in Oklahoma City on Sept. 26, 1968, the son of Rhonda and Buddy Shadid. The younger Mr. Shadid, who became fluent in Arabic only as an adult, earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and journalism from the University of Wisconsin in 1990. He later joined The Associated Press, reporting from Cairo, before moving to The Globe in 2001. He was with The Washington Post from 2003 until 2009.

Mr. Shadid joined The Times on Dec. 31, 2009, as Baghdad bureau chief, and became the newspaper’s bureau chief in Beirut, Lebanon, last year.

His first marriage ended in divorce. Survivors include his second wife, the journalist Nada Bakri; their son, Malik; a daughter, Laila, from his first marriage; his parents; a sister, Shannon, of Denver; and a brother, Damon, of Seattle.

He was the author of three books, “Legacy of the Prophet: Despots, Democrats and the New Politics of Islam” (2001); “Night Draws Near: Iraq’s People in the Shadow of America’s War” (2005); and “House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East,” to be published next month by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

In a front-page article for The Times last year, Mr. Shadid, reporting from Tunisia amid the Arab Spring, displayed his singular combination of authority, acumen and style.

“The idealism of the revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, where the power of the street revealed the frailty of authority, revived an Arab world anticipating change,” he wrote. “But Libya’s unfinished revolution, as inspiring as it is unsettling, illustrates how perilous that change has become as it unfolds in this phase of the Arab Spring.

“Though the rebels’ flag has gone up in Tripoli,” he continued, “their leadership is fractured and opaque; the intentions and influence of Islamists in their ranks are uncertain; Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi remains at large in a flight reminiscent of Saddam Hussein’s; and foreigners have been involved in the fight in the kind of intervention that has long been toxic to the Arab world.” He added, “Not to mention, of course, that a lot of young men have a lot of guns.”

Anthony Shadid, Reporter in the Middle East, Dies at 43,






Tom Wicker,

Times Journalist,

Dies at 85


November 25, 2011

The New York Times



Tom Wicker, one of postwar America’s most distinguished journalists, who wrote 20 books, covered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy for The New York Times and became the paper’s Washington bureau chief and an iconoclastic political columnist for 25 years, died on Friday at his home near Rochester, Vt. He was 85.

The cause was apparently a heart attack, said his wife, Pamela Wicker.

On Nov. 22, 1963, Mr. Wicker, a brilliant but relatively unknown White House correspondent who had worked at four smaller papers, written several novels under a pen name and, at 37, had established himself as a workhorse of The Times’s Washington bureau, was riding in the presidential motorcade as it wound through downtown Dallas, the lone Times reporter on a routine political trip to Texas.

The searing images of that day — the rifleman’s shots cracking across Dealey Plaza, the wounded president lurching forward in the open limousine, the blur of speed to Parkland Memorial Hospital and the nation’s anguish as the doctors gave way to the priests and a new era — were dictated by Mr. Wicker from a phone booth in stark, detailed prose drawn from notes scribbled on a White House itinerary sheet. It filled two front-page columns and the entire second page, and vaulted the writer to journalistic prominence overnight.

Nine months later, Mr. Wicker, the son of a small-town North Carolina railroad conductor, succeeded the legendary James B. Reston as chief of The Times’s 48-member Washington bureau, and two years later he inherited the column — although hardly the mantle — of the retiring Arthur Krock, the dean of Washington pundits, who had covered every president since Calvin Coolidge.

In contrast to the conservative pontificating of Mr. Krock and the genteel journalism of Mr. Reston, Mr. Wicker brought a hard-hitting Southern liberal/civil libertarian’s perspective to his column, “In the Nation,” which appeared on the editorial page and then on the Op-Ed Page two or three times a week from 1966 until his retirement in 1991. It was also syndicated to scores of newspapers.

Riding waves of change as the effects of the divisive war in Vietnam and America’s civil rights struggle swept the country, Mr. Wicker applauded President Lyndon B. Johnson and Congress for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but took the president to task for deepening the American involvement in Southeast Asia.

He denounced President Richard M. Nixon for covertly bombing Cambodia, and in the Watergate scandal accused him of creating the “beginnings of a police state.” Nixon put Mr. Wicker on his “enemies list,” but resigned in disgrace over the Watergate cover-up. Vice President Spiro T. Agnew upbraided Mr. Wicker for “irresponsibility and thoughtlessness,” but he, too, resigned after pleading no contest to evading taxes on bribes he had taken while he was governor of Maryland.

The Wicker judgments fell like a hard rain upon all the presidents: Gerald R. Ford, for continuing the war in Vietnam; Jimmy Carter, for “temporizing” in the face of soaring inflation and the Iranian hostage crisis; Ronald Reagan, for dozing through the Iran-contra scandal, and the elder George Bush, for letting the Persian Gulf war outweigh educational and health care needs at home. Mr. Wicker’s targets also included members of Congress, government secrecy, big business, corrupt labor leaders, racial bigots, prison conditions, television and the news media.

In the 1970s, Mr. Wicker, whose status as a columnist put him outside the customary journalistic restrictions on advocacy, became a fixture on current-events television shows and addressed gatherings on college campuses and in other forums. Speaking at a 1971 “teach-in” at Harvard, he urged students to “engage in civil disobedience” in protesting the war in Vietnam. “We got one president out,” he told the cheering crowd, “and perhaps we can do it again.”


A Prison Uprising

Mr. Wicker had many detractors. He was attacked by conservatives and liberals, by politicians high and low, by business interests, labor leaders and others, and for a time his activism — crossing the line from observer to participant in news events — put him in disfavor with many mainstream journalists. But his speeches and columns continued unabated.

His most notable involvement took place during the uprising by 1,300 inmates who seized 38 guards and workers at the Attica prison in upstate New York in September 1971. Having written a sympathetic column on the death of the black militant George Jackson at San Quentin, Mr. Wicker was asked by Attica’s rebels to join a group of outsiders to inspect prison conditions and monitor negotiations between inmates and officials. The radical lawyer William M. Kunstler and Bobby Seale, chairman of the Black Panther Party, also went in, and the observers took on the role of mediators.

Mr. Wicker, in a column, described a night in the yard with the rebels: flickering oil-drum fires, bull-necked convicts armed with bats and iron pipes, faceless men in hoods or football helmets huddled on mattresses behind wooden barricades. He wrote: “This is another world — terrifying to the outsider, yet imposing in its strangeness — behind those massive walls, in this murmurous darkness, within the temporary but real power of desperate men.”

Talks broke down over inmate demands for amnesty and the ouster of Russell G. Oswald, the state corrections commissioner. Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller rejected appeals by the observers to go to Attica, and after a four-day standoff, troopers and guards stormed the prison. Ten hostages and 29 inmates were killed by the authorities’ gunfire in what witnesses called a turkey shoot; three inmates were killed by other convicts, who also beat a guard to death. Afterward, many prisoners were beaten and abused in reprisals.

Mr. Wicker wrote a book about the uprising, “A Time to Die” (1975). Most critics hailed it as his best book, although some chided him for sympathizing with the inmates. “Attica,” a television movie starring Morgan Freeman as a jailhouse lawyer and George Grizzard as Mr. Wicker, was made by ABC in 1980.


Fiction and Nonfiction

Mr. Wicker produced a shelf of books: 10 novels, ranging from potboilers under the pen name Paul Connolly to murder mysteries and political thrillers, and 10 nonfiction books that re-examined the legacies of ex-presidents, race relations in America, the press and other subjects.

Mr. Wicker’s first nonfiction book was “Kennedy Without Tears: The Man Beneath the Myth” (1964), a 61-page look back that some critics said recapitulated popular notions of an orator of charm and wit but did not penetrate the armor of sentiment growing over the dead president.

“JFK and LBJ: The Influence of Personality Upon Politics,” (1968), was better received. It analyzed the character of the two presidents to explain why Kennedy was unable to push many programs through Congress and why Johnson’s credibility was a casualty of the Vietnam conflict.

Mr. Wicker’s “On Press” (1978) enlarged on complaints he had made for years: the myth of objectivity, reliance on official and anonymous sources. Far from being robust and uninhibited, he wrote, the press was often a toady to government and business.

Published shortly before Mr. Wicker retired, “One of Us: Richard Nixon and the American Dream” (1991) offered a surprising reassessment of the president he had scorned 20 years earlier. Nixon, credited with high marks in foreign policy, mainly for opening doors to China, actually deserved more notice for domestic achievements, Mr. Wicker argued, especially in desegregating Southern schools.

Mr. Wicker later wrote “Tragic Failure: Racial Integration in America,” (1996), arguing that black Americans should abandon the Democratic Party and forge a new liberal movement. And he produced “On the Record: An Insider’s Guide to Journalism” (2001), “Dwight D. Eisenhower” (2002), “George Herbert Walker Bush” (2004) and “Shooting Star: The Brief Arc of Joe McCarthy” (2006).

His political novel “Facing the Lions” (1973) was on The Times best-seller list for 18 weeks. His later novels were “Unto This Hour” (1984), a Civil War story on the best-seller list for 15 weeks; “Donovan’s Wife” (1992), a satire on sleazy politics; and “Easter Lilly” (1998), about a black woman tried for the murder of a white jail guard in the South.


A Young Journalist

Mr. Wicker was a hefty man, 6 feet 2 inches tall, with a ruddy face, jowls, petulant lips and a lock of unruly hair that dangled boyishly on a high forehead. He toiled in tweeds in pinstriped Washington, but seemed more suited to a hammock and straw hat on a lazy summer day. The casual gait, the easygoing manner, the down-home drawl set a tone for audiences, but masked a fiery temperament, a ferocious work ethic, a tigerish competitiveness and a stubborn idealism, qualities that made him a perceptive observer of the American scene for more than a half century.

Thomas Grey Wicker was born on June 18, 1926, in Hamlet, N.C., the son of Delancey David, a railroad freight conductor, and Esta Cameron Wicker. He worked on his high school newspaper and decided to make journalism his career.

After Navy service in World War II, he studied journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating in 1948. Over the next decade, he was an editor and reporter at several newspapers in North Carolina, including The Winston-Salem Journal, eventually becoming its Washington correspondent.

Mr. Wicker married the former Neva Jewett McLean in 1949. The couple had two children and were divorced in 1973. In 1974, he married Pamela Hill, a producer of television documentaries. Besides his wife, he is survived by the children of his first marriage, a daughter, Cameron Wicker, and a son, Thomas Grey Wicker Jr.; two stepdaughters, Kayce Freed Jennings and Lisa Freed; and a stepson, Christopher Hill.


In Washington

In 1957-58, Mr. Wicker was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, and in 1959 became associate editor of The Nashville Tennessean. In 1960, Mr. Reston hired him for The Times’s Washington bureau, one of “Scotty’s boys,” a cadre of protégés that included Max Frankel, Anthony Lewis and Russell Baker.

Mr. Wicker covered Congress and the Kennedy White House, the 1960 political campaigns and presidential trips abroad. His output was prodigious — 700 articles in his first few years, many of them on the front page, others in the form of news analysis in The New York Times Magazine or the Week in Review.

His work was often entertaining as well as informative. “The most familiar voice in Ameriker lahst yeeah warz that of a Boston Irishman with Harvard overtones who sounded vaguely like an old recording of Franklin D. Roosevelt speeded up to 90 r.p.m.’s,” Mr. Wicker wrote for the magazine, summing up 241 Kennedy speeches in his first year in the presidency. “Nor will the Beacon Street ‘a’ and the Bunker Hill ‘r’ fall any less frequently on the American eeah in the coming yeeah.”

Mr. Wicker was named chief of the Washington bureau on Sept. 1, 1964, at the insistence of his mentor, Mr. Reston, who had asked to be relieved. While the job involved managerial duties, Mr. Wicker was an indifferent administrator. He continued to cover Washington and national news, and to write news analyses and magazine articles. In 1966, he took on Mr. Krock’s column, adding to his workload.

In 1968, after complaints by Times editors in New York that Mr. Wicker was devoting too much attention to his writing, The Times announced that James Greenfield, a former Time magazine reporter and State Department official, would replace him as bureau chief.

Mr. Wicker and some colleagues, who saw the move as an effort to rein in the relative independence the bureau had enjoyed under Mr. Reston, vehemently opposed the appointment. The publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, withdrew Mr. Greenfield’s name and named Mr. Frankel as bureau chief. Mr. Wicker became associate editor, a title he retained until his retirement, and after 1972 wrote his column from New York.

Besides columns and books, Mr. Wicker wrote short stories and freelance articles that appeared in The Atlantic, Esquire, Harper’s, Life, The New Republic, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, Playboy, Rolling Stone and Vogue. He received many awards and honorary degrees from a dozen universities.

    Tom Wicker, Times Journalist, Dies at 85, NYT, 25.11.2011,






Andy Rooney,

a Cranky Voice of CBS,

Dies at 92


November 5, 2011
The New York Times


Andy Rooney, whose prickly wit was long a mainstay of CBS News and whose homespun commentary on “60 Minutes,” delivered every week from 1978 until 2011, made him a household name, died on Friday in New York City.

He was 92 and lived in Manhattan, though he kept a family vacation home in Rensselaerville, N.Y., and the first home he ever bought, in Rowayton, Conn.

CBS News said in a statement that Mr. Rooney died after complications following minor surgery.

In late September, CBS announced that Mr. Rooney would be making his last regular weekly appearance on “60 Minutes” on Oct. 2. After that, said Jeff Fager, the chairman of CBS News and the program’s executive producer, he would “always have the ability to speak his mind on ‘60 Minutes’ when the urge hits him.”

But a little more than three weeks after that appearance, CBS announced that Mr. Rooney had been hospitalized after developing “serious complications” from an unspecified operation.

Mr. Rooney entered television shortly after World War II, writing material for entertainers like Arthur Godfrey, Victor Borge, Herb Shriner, Sam Levenson and Garry Moore. Beginning in 1962, he had a six-year association with the CBS News correspondent Harry Reasoner, who narrated a series of Everyman “essays” written by Mr. Rooney.

But it was “A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney,” his weekly segment on “60 Minutes,” that made him one of the most popular broadcast figures in the country. With his jowls, bushy eyebrows, deeply circled eyes and advancing years, he seemed every inch the homespun philosopher as he addressed mostly mundane subjects with varying degrees of befuddlement, vexation and sometimes pleasure.

He admitted to loving football, Christmas, tennis, woodworking and Dwight D. Eisenhower, one of the few politicians who won his approval because, as an Army general during World War II, he had refused to censor Stars and Stripes, the G.I. newspaper for which Mr. Rooney worked. He also claimed to like shined shoes and properly pressed pants and had machines in his office to take care of those functions, although somehow he always managed to look rumpled.

But he was better known for the things he did not like. He railed against “two-prong plugs in a three-prong society,” the incomprehensibility of road maps, wash-and-wear shirts “that you can wash but not wear,” the uselessness of keys and locks, and outsize cereal boxes that contained very little cereal.

“I don’t like any music I can’t hum,” he grumbled.

He observed that “there are more beauty parlors than there are beauties” and that “if dogs could talk, it would take a lot of the fun out of owning one.”

He made clear that he thought Gen. George S. Patton and Ernest Hemingway, both of whom he had known personally, were gasbags. He disliked New Year’s Eve, waiting in line for any reason and the bursars at whatever colleges his children attended.

He once concluded that “it is possible to be dumb and be a college president,” but he acknowledged that “most college students are not as smart as most college presidents.”

On the subject of higher education, he declared that most college catalogs “rank among the great works of fiction of all time,” and that a student of lackluster intellect who could raise tuition money would find it “almost impossible to flunk out.”

Time magazine once called him “the most felicitous nonfiction writer in television.” But Mr. Rooney was decidedly not everyone’s cup of tea.

The New York Times columnist Anna Quindlen, for example, took strong issue with Mr. Rooney’s dismissive comments after Kurt Cobain of the band Nirvana committed suicide in 1994. It was not surprising, she wrote, that Mr. Rooney “brought to the issue of youthful despair a mixture of sarcasm and contempt,” but it was “worth noting because in 1994 that sort of attitude is as dated and foolish as believing that cancer is contagious.”

Mr. Rooney’s opinions sometimes landed him in trouble. In 1990, CBS News suspended him without pay in response to complaints that he had made remarks offensive to black and gay people.

The trigger was a December 1989 special, “A Year With Andy Rooney,” in which he said: “There was some recognition in 1989 of the fact that many of the ills which kill us are self-induced. Too much alcohol, too much food, drugs, homosexual unions, cigarettes. They’re all known to lead quite often to premature death.” He later apologized for the statement.

But the gay newspaper The Advocate subsequently quoted him as saying in an interview: “I’ve believed all along that most people are born with equal intelligence, but blacks have watered down their genes because the less intelligent ones are the ones that have the most children. They drop out of school early, do drugs and get pregnant.”

Mr. Rooney denied that he had made such a statement, and because the interview had apparently not been taped, the reporter was unable to prove that he had. “It is a know-nothing statement, which I abhor,” Mr. Rooney said.

He said that he had accepted the suspension rather than end his relationship with CBS News. He said that when he was an Army trainee, he had been arrested in the South because he insisted on riding in the back of a bus with some black soldiers who were friends of his.

Many of his colleagues rushed to his defense. “I know he is not a racist,” Walter Cronkite said.

Mr. Rooney was suspended for three months but was brought back after only one. During his absence, the ratings for “60 Minutes” declined by 20 percent and the network received thousands of letters and telephone calls from viewers who missed his commentaries.

Mr. Rooney generated more criticism in 2002, when he said in an interview on a cable sports show that women had “no business” being sideline television reporters at football games because they did not understand football.

He did it again in 2007, with a newspaper column complaining about the current state of baseball. “I know all about Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, but today’s baseball stars are all guys named Rodriguez to me,” he wrote.

He subsequently acknowledged that he “probably shouldn’t have said it,” but denied that his intent had been to denigrate Latin American players.

Andrew Aitken Rooney was born on Jan. 14, 1919, in Albany, the son of Walter and Ellinor Rooney. His father was in the paper business. After his graduation from Albany Academy, he worked as a copy boy for The Knickerbocker News before attending Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., where he played left guard on the football team (even though he was only 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds) and worked for the weekly newspaper, The Colgate Maroon.

In 1941, three months before Pearl Harbor, he was drafted into the Army and used his powers of persuasion to get himself assigned to Stars and Stripes. He did not know much about reporting, but he learned his craft by working with journalists like Homer Bigart, Ernie Pyle and Mr. Cronkite.

He became a sergeant, flew on some bombing missions, covered the invasion of France in 1944 and won a Bronze Star for reporting under fire during the battle of Saint-Lô in Normandy. A year later, he was among the first Americans to enter the concentration camps at Buchenwald and Thekla, Germany.

In collaboration with Bud Hutton, a Stars and Stripes colleague, Mr. Rooney wrote two books: “Air Gunner” (1944), a collection of sketches of Americans who had been stationed in Britain, and “The Story of the Stars and Stripes” (1946).

After his discharge, Mr. Rooney returned to Albany and worked as a freelance writer.

By 1949, he had persuaded Mr. Godfrey to hire him as a writer. He continued writing for several entertainers, but also became involved in news and public affairs when he was asked to write scripts for “The Twentieth Century,” a documentary series narrated by Mr. Cronkite. That led to his long-term association with Mr. Reasoner, which led to his involvement, initially as a writer, with “60 Minutes.”

In the early 1970s, after briefly working for PBS, Mr. Rooney returned to CBS and began appearing on camera in a series of specials, one of which, “Mr. Rooney Goes to Washington,” won a Peabody Award.

Mr. Rooney was as outspoken about CBS, his longtime employer, as he was about everything else. He made no secret of his dislike for Laurence A. Tisch, the network’s chief executive from 1986 to 1995. Protesting Mr. Tisch’s cost efficiencies and job cuts in 1987, Mr. Rooney said CBS News “has been turned into primarily a business enterprise, and the moral enterprise has been lost,” and he threatened to quit if a writers strike against CBS News was not settled.

Although his commentary was mostly written for CBS News, he also had a syndicated newspaper column for three decades, for which he was given a lifetime achievement award in 2003 by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. (That same year he received a similar award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.) He published a number of books, primarily collections of his commentaries, most recently “Out of My Mind” (2006), “And More by Andy Rooney” (2008) and “Andy Rooney: 60 Years of Wisdom and Wit” (2010).

Mr. Rooney’s wife of 62 years, Marguerite Howard, died in 2004. Mr. Rooney is survived by their four children, Ellen Rooney of London; Martha Fishel of Chevy Chase, Md.; Emily Rooney of Boston; and Brian Rooney of Los Angeles, along with five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Mr. Rooney frequently said he considered himself “one of the least important producers on television” because his specialty was light pieces. “I just wish insignificance had more stature,” he once said.

But he put things in perspective in his 1,097th and last regularly scheduled “60 Minutes” appearance.

“I’ve done a lot of complaining here,” he said then, “but of all the things I’ve complained about, I can’t complain about my life.”

    Andy Rooney, a Cranky Voice of CBS, Dies at 92, NYT, 5.11.2011,






Sean Hoare knew how destructive

the News of the World could be

The courageous whistleblower
who claimed Andy Coulson
knew about phone hacking
had a powerful motive for speaking out


Monday 18 July 2011
18.46 BST
Nick Davies
Andy Coulson
This article was published
on guardian.co.uk
at 18.46 BST
on Monday 18 July 2011.
A version appeared on p2
of the Main section section
of the Guardian on Tuesday 19 July 2011.
It was last modified at 07.18 BST
on Tuesday 19 July 2011.


At a time when the reputation of News of the World journalists is at rock bottom, it needs to be said that the paper's former showbusiness correspondent Sean Hoare, who died on Monday, was a lovely man.

In the saga of the phone-hacking scandal, he distinguished himself by being the first former NoW journalist to come out on the record, telling the New York Times last year that his former friend and editor, Andy Coulson, had actively encouraged him to hack into voicemail.

That took courage. But he had a particularly powerful motive for speaking. He knew how destructive the News of the World could be, not just for the targets of its exposés, but also for the ordinary journalists who worked there, who got caught up in its remorseless drive for headlines.

Explaining why he had spoken out, he told me: "I want to right a wrong, lift the lid on it, the whole culture. I know, we all know, that the hacking and other stuff is endemic. Because there is so much intimidation. In the newsroom, you have people being fired, breaking down in tears, hitting the bottle."

He knew this very well, because he was himself a victim of the News of the World. As a showbusiness reporter, he had lived what he was happy to call a privileged life. But the reality had ruined his physical health: "I was paid to go out and take drugs with rock stars – get drunk with them, take pills with them, take cocaine with them. It was so competitive. You are going to go beyond the call of duty. You are going to do things that no sane man would do. You're in a machine."

While it was happening, he loved it. He came from a working-class background of solid Arsenal supporters, always voted Labour, defined himself specifically as a "clause IV" socialist who still believed in public ownership of the means of production. But, working as a reporter, he suddenly found himself up to his elbows in drugs and delirium.

He rapidly arrived at the Sun's Bizarre column, then run by Coulson. He recalled: "There was a system on the Sun. We broke good stories. I had a good relationship with Andy. He would let me do what I wanted as long as I brought in a story. The brief was, 'I don't give a fuck'."

He was a born reporter. He could always find stories. And, unlike some of his nastier tabloid colleagues, he did not play the bully with his sources. He was naturally a warm, kind man, who could light up a lamp-post with his talk. From Bizarre, he moved to the Sunday People, under Neil Wallis, and then to the News of the World, where Andy Coulson had become deputy editor. And, persistently, he did as he was told and went out on the road with rock stars, befriending them, bingeing with them, pausing only to file his copy.

He made no secret of his massive ingestion of drugs. He told me how he used to start the day with "a rock star's breakfast" – a line of cocaine and a Jack Daniels – usually in the company of a journalist who now occupies a senior position at the Sun. He reckoned he was using three grammes of cocaine a day, spending about £1,000 a week. Plus endless alcohol. Looking back, he could see it had done him enormous damage. But at the time, as he recalled, most of his colleagues were doing it, too.

"Everyone got overconfident. We thought we could do coke, go to Brown's, sit in the Red Room with Paula Yates and Michael Hutchence. Everyone got a bit carried away."

It must have scared the rest of Fleet Street when he started talking – he had bought, sold and snorted cocaine with some of the most powerful names in tabloid journalism. One retains a senior position on the Daily Mirror. "I last saw him in Little Havana," he recalled, "at three in the morning, on his hands and knees. He had lost his cocaine wrap. I said to him, 'This is not really the behaviour we expect of a senior journalist from a great Labour paper.' He said, 'Have you got any fucking drugs?'"

And the voicemail hacking was all part of the great game. The idea that it was a secret, or the work of some "rogue reporter", had him rocking in his chair: "Everyone was doing it. Everybody got a bit carried away with this power that they had. No one came close to catching us." He would hack messages and delete them so the competition could not hear them, or hack messages and swap them with mates on other papers.

In the end, his body would not take it any more. He said he started to have fits, that his liver was in such a terrible state that a doctor told him he must be dead. And, as his health collapsed, he was sacked by the News of the World – by his old friend Coulson.

When he spoke out about the voicemail hacking, some Conservative MPs were quick to smear him, spreading tales of his drug use as though that meant he was dishonest. He was genuinely offended by the lies being told by News International and always willing to help me and other reporters who were trying to expose the truth. He was equally offended when Scotland Yard's former assistant commissioner, John Yates, assigned officers to interview him, not as a witness but as a suspect. They told him anything he said could be used against him, and, to his credit, he refused to have anything to do with them.

His health never recovered. He liked to say that he had stopped drinking, but he would treat himself to some red wine. He liked to say he didn't smoke any more, but he would stop for a cigarette on his way home. For better and worse, he was a Fleet Street man.

Sean Hoare knew how destructive the News of the World could be,






One Reporter’s Lonely Beat,

Witnessing Executions


October 21, 2009
The New York Times


Of all the consequences of shrinking newsrooms, one of the oddest is this: Fewer journalists are available to watch people die. But Michael Graczyk has witnessed more than 300 deaths, and many of those were people he had come to know.

An Associated Press reporter based in Houston, Mr. Graczyk covers death penalty cases in Texas, the state that uses capital punishment far more than any other, and since the 1980s, he has attended nearly every execution the state has carried out — he has lost track of the precise count. Whenever possible, he has also interviewed the condemned killers and their victims’ families.

What makes his record all the more extraordinary is that often, Mr. Graczyk’s has been the only account of the execution given to the world at large. Covering executions was once considered an obligatory — if often ghoulish — part of what a newspaper did, like writing up school board meetings and printing box scores, but one by one, such dutiful traditions have fallen away.

A generation ago, he had plenty of company from other journalists at the prison at Huntsville, about an hour’s drive north of Houston, where executions in Texas are carried out. But then Texas executions went from rare to routine, and shrinking news organizations found it harder to justify the expense of what was, from most parts of the state, a long trip.

“There are times when I’m the only person present who doesn’t have a stake in the outcome,” he said.

Seeing inmates in the death chamber, strapped to a gurney and moments away from lethal injections, he has heard them greet him by name, confess to their crimes for the first time, sing, pray and, once, spit out a concealed handcuff key. He has stood shoulder to shoulder with other witnesses who stared, wept, fainted, turned their backs or, in one case, exchanged high-fives.

No reporter, warden, chaplain or guard has seen nearly as many executions as Mr. Graczyk, 59, Texas prison officials say. In fact, he has probably witnessed more than any other American. It could be emotionally and politically freighted work, but he takes it with a low-key, matter-of-fact lack of sentiment, refusing to hint at his own view of capital punishment.

Given a choice between the death chamber’s two viewing rooms, he usually chooses the one for the victim’s family rather than the side for the inmate’s, partly “because I can get out faster and file the story faster.”

“My job is to tell a story and tell what’s going on, and if I tell you that I get emotional on one side or another, I open myself to criticism,” he said.

The A.P. attends every execution, a policy that newspapers around the state encourage.

“Our staff is half the size it was three years ago, and so it’s just much more difficult to send somebody,” said Jim Witt, executive editor of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “But we know we can depend on The A.P., so I can send my reporters to something else.”

Newspapers sometimes use The A.P.’s reporting rather than their own — or they do not cover the executions at all. What was once a statewide story has become of strictly local interest.

A few papers, like The Houston Chronicle, still routinely cover executions in cases from their home counties, but not those from other parts of the state. Only one paper regularly covers executions no matter which part of the state the cases come from: The Huntsville Item, a small publication based near the prison.

This year, the state has put to death five inmates in cases from Tarrant County, which includes Fort Worth. The Star-Telegram covered one, wrote about two other cases in the days before the executions, and on the remaining two did not publish any articles, either its own or The A.P.’s.

“It depends on whether the crime was particularly newsworthy,” Mr. Witt said.

This year, a case from El Paso County resulted in an execution for that county for the first time in 22 years, but rather than send a reporter to Huntsville, some 650 miles away, The El Paso Times quoted extensively from Mr. Graczyk’s report.

“We actually put in to attend that one, and we were granted a spot, but when the editors explained the case to me, and the local connection was minimal, I said it wasn’t a compelling enough case,” said Chris V. Lopez, editor of The Times.

He said the expense of traveling to Huntsville was not a major consideration, but “it has to be a case that has a lot of local impact,” adding that the paper plans to attend a scheduled execution in a more prominent case.

Mr. Graczyk, who also writes on a wide range of other topics, developed his unusual specialty in the mid-1980s, a few years after Texas resumed executions after a long hiatus. He often covers the crimes, the trials and the appeals, immersed in details so gruesome it is hard to imagine they are real.

At first there were just a handful of executions each year, but the pace of capital punishment in Texas stepped up sharply through the next decade. The state has put 441 inmates to death since 1982, more than the next six states combined. That includes 334 since the start of 1997, a period in which Texas accounted for 41 percent of the national total.

“The act is very clinical, almost anticlimactic,” Mr. Graczyk said. “When we get into the chamber here in Texas, the inmate has already been strapped to the gurney and the needle is already in his arm.”

Witnesses are mostly subdued, he said, and while “some are in tears, outright jubilation or breakdowns are really rare.”

They stand on the other side of a barrier of plexiglass and bars, able to hear the prisoner through speakers. And the only sound regularly heard during the execution itself, is of all things, snoring. A three-drug cocktail puts the inmate to sleep within seconds, while death takes a few minutes. Victims’ family members often remark that the killer’s death seems too peaceful.

But before the drugs flow, the inmate is allowed to make a last statement, giving Mr. Graczyk what even he acknowledges are some lasting, eerie memories.

One inmate “sang ‘Silent Night,’ even though it wasn’t anywhere near Christmas,” Mr. Graczyk said. “I can’t hear that song without thinking about it. That one really stuck with me.”

One Reporter’s Lonely Beat, Witnessing Executions,






James Brady, Columnist

Chronicling the Power Elite,

Dies at 80


January 29, 2009
The New York Times


James Brady, who helped start the Page Six gossip column at The New York Post, chronicled the doings of the New York power elite in columns for Advertising Age and Crain’s New York Business and wrote a gripping memoir of his combat experience in the Korean War, died on Monday after collapsing at his home in Manhattan. He was 80.

His daughter Fiona Brady said that the cause had not been determined but that he had a stroke several years ago.

For more than 30 years Mr. Brady turned a knowing eye on the literati, fashionistas and tycoons who defined life at the top in Manhattan. He also interviewed Hollywood celebrities for Parade magazine. But nearly any topic that caught his fancy made it into his columns.

In his final “Brady’s Bunch” column in Advertising Age in 2005, he reviewed some of the subjects that he had written about over the years. They included Paris and Coco Chanel, war and peace, “the Hamptons, football, red wine, TV, Scott Fitzgerald, skiing with my grandchildren and Elaine’s restaurant.”

The list went on. And on.

“He was a throwback to the Damon Runyon days of newspapermen,” the gossip columnist Liz Smith, who worked for Mr. Brady at Harper’s Bazaar and The Post, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. “He did just about everything, and probably 28 other things I don’t even know about. He worked hard, and he made it seem effortless.”

James Winston Brady grew up in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, and worked his way through Manhattan College as a copyboy at The Daily News in New York. After being called up from the reserves by the Marine Corps, he went to Korea in 1951 and wound up leading a rifle platoon in some of the heaviest combat of the war.

He later wrote about his Korean experience in an acclaimed memoir, “The Coldest War” (1990), one of his several books about Korea and the Marines, including “The Scariest Place in the World” (2005), “Why Marines Fight” (2007) and the novels “The Marines of Autumn” (2000) and “The Marine” (2003). Just days before he died, he finished editing “Hero of the Pacific: The Life of Legendary Marine John Basilone,” to be published by Wiley in November.

On returning to the United States, he was hired as a business news reporter by Women’s Wear Daily. Its parent company, Fairchild Publications, later sent him to Washington to cover Capitol Hill and to London and Paris to run its bureaus there. In Paris he became a good friend of Coco Chanel, who, for reasons unknown, called him “mon petit indien” (“my little Indian”).

In 1958 he married Florence Kelly, who survives him. In addition to his daughter Fiona, of the Riverdale section of the Bronx, he is also survived by a brother, Msgr. Tom Brady of Brooklyn; another daughter, Susan Konig of Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.; and four grandchildren.

Mr. Brady returned to New York as publisher of Women’s Wear Daily in 1964 and later started its spinoff publication W. In 1971 he took over the editorship of Harper’s Bazaar, but his efforts to inject a more youthful note into the publication earned him a quick exit, although he put his misadventures to good use in the publishing memoir “Superchic” (1974).

He was quickly hired by Clay Felker to develop and write the “Intelligencer” column for New York magazine, and, just as quickly, lured away by the publisher Rupert Murdoch, then extending his reach from Australia and Britain to the United States. Mr. Brady initially edited The National Star (now The Star), the supermarket tabloid, and then moved to The Post after Mr. Murdoch bought it in 1976.

Whether Mr. Brady alone gave birth to Page Six remains in dispute, but he was present at the creation, gave the column its name and was its first editor, briefly, before being called on to edit Mr. Murdoch’s latest acquisition, New York magazine. He returned to Page Six as editor in the early 1980s.

A taste for the high life and an upbeat, gregarious nature made Mr. Brady a marathon chronicler of the upper reaches of Manhattan social life, where he was a curious enthusiast rather than a climber. He began writing a column for Advertising Age in 1977, and when Crain’s New York Business started up in 1984, he simply doubled his output with a column there, too. The social material that did not find its way into his columns fed into a series of novels set in the Hamptons. (He had a summer house in East Hampton, N.Y.)

Beyond New York, he was familiar to millions of readers as the author of “In Step With,” a weekly celebrity profile for Parade magazine, which he began writing in 1986. His last Parade column, on Kevin Bacon, is scheduled to appear on Feb. 15.

James Brady, Columnist Chronicling the Power Elite, Dies at 80,






The Media Equation

A Scandal in Chicago

That Justifies

Investigative Journalism


December 15, 2008

The New York Times



For the last few years, newspapers have been smacked around for lacking relevance, but the industry has finally found a compelling spokesman: Rod R. Blagojevich, Democratic governor of Illinois.

According to the criminal complaint that the United States attorney filed, Governor Blagojevich, while allegedly trying to set a price for a United States Senate seat, also spent a significant amount of time going after the press, especially The Chicago Tribune, whose editorial page had been calling for his impeachment.

The governor said he would withhold financial assistance from the Tribune Company in its effort to sell Wrigley Field unless the newspaper got rid of the editorial writers. “Our recommendation is fire all those [expletive] people, get ’em the [expletive] out of there and get us some editorial support,” he told his chief of staff, John Harris.

Who says the modern American newspaper doesn’t matter?

There is no evidence that Sam Zell, the chief executive of the Tribune Company, or any of his colleagues followed through on Mr. Blagojevich’s demand for retribution. (Gerould Kern, editor of The Chicago Tribune, told me Sunday, “Since I have been editor, I have not been pressured in any way on our coverage of the governor, our editorial page positions or the staffing of our editorial board.”)

The Tribune Company has acknowledged that that the company received a subpoena, but declined to comment further.

In a city and state where corruption is knit into the political fabric, a solvent daily paper would seem to be a civic necessity. But if another governor goes bad in Illinois — a likely circumstance given the current investigation and the fact that the last governor, George Ryan, is serving six and a half years on corruption charges — what if the local paper were too diminished to do the job?

It is not an academic issue. Last week, it was reported that the two daily newspapers in Detroit, a city whose politicians have been known to get their hands in the till as soon as voters pull the lever, will cease home delivery on most days of the week, printing a pared-down version for newsstands, with cuts in staff to match.

And last Monday, the day before Mr. Blagojevich and Mr. Harris were arrested, the Tribune Company, which has almost $13 billion in debt, filed for bankruptcy protection. It was less than a year after Mr. Zell, a man with a fondness for distressed assets, took control of the Tribune chain — which owned 11 other newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, and 23 television stations — in a deal structured around an employee stock ownership plan that involved $8 billion in new debt.

Things have not gone as planned since then. The worst ad recession since the Depression, combined with that crushing debt, has compelled the company to sell assets — Newsday, a daily newspaper in Long Island, was sold last spring for $650 million — and cut staff. The Chicago Tribune newsroom, which had a staff of 670 in 2005, has gone through several rounds of cutbacks and buyouts that left the newsroom with 480 employees.

Some of the losses have been dear. This summer, Maurice Possley, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the paper’s premier criminal justice reporter, left, in part because he didn’t believe the newspaper was still interested in the kind of long-form investigative stories he worked on.

Last month, John Crewdson, another Pulitzer-winning reporter, was laid off from the newspaper’s Washington bureau. Two of the newspaper’s five staff members who covered state government full-time are now gone. Ann Marie Lipinski, the newspaper’s editor and a longtime enabler of The Chicago Tribune’s journalistic aggression, left last summer, and in September, a redesign with fewer articles arrayed over less space was put in place.

Almost since the day Mr. Blagojevich took office, The Tribune has shown readers that the governor’s primary interest was not always the public interest. And the paper’s reporting helped expose the outside clout of Antoin Rezko, the convicted fixer with ties to both Mr. Blagojevich and President-elect Barack Obama.

Although much of the current investigation is being led by the office of the United States attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald, the newspaper did its own work, including pointing out that the governor’s wife, Patti, received over $700,000 in real estate commissions, with much of the money coming from people who did business with the state. In the indictment, she too pays tribute to the newspaper’s effectiveness, shouting in the background as her husband talked about Tribune.

“Hold up that [expletive] Cubs [expletive],” she said. “[Expletive] them.”

It is the highest sort of compliment, if rather profane.

This week, Dan Mihalopoulos, Ray Long, John Chase, David Kidwell and others at the paper continued to work every angle on the Blagojevich investigation, and follow some of their own. But some people at the newspaper, and those who have left, wonder whether The Tribune’s commitment to covering corruption is sustainable.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the people that are there and the job that they have done,” said David Jackson, an investigative reporter who worked on the Rezko coverage and is now on a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard. “But both as a citizen and a journalist, you have to wonder whether the paper will have the resources moving forward to continue to do that work. I am worried that the paper will be so diminished under Zell that it won’t be able to play that role.”

Mr. Crewdson, who had worked in the Washington bureau, was not so concerned.

In an e-mail message, he said the financial condition of his former paper would not “have kept Fitzgerald from finding out what he wanted to know and going wherever he wanted to go.”

Financial problems aside, Mr. Zell has publicly ridiculed the focus on long-term investigative projects, telling a New York investors’ conference, “I haven’t figured out how to cash in a Pulitzer Prize.”

In a speech last month at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, James Warren, a former managing editor of the paper who was asked to leave after a new editor was appointed, denounced the shift away from investigative efforts.

“Journalistically, it is hard, even impossible, to imagine the current Tribune hierarchy, bent on what it sees as more ‘utilitarian’ and locally ‘relevant’ work, championing such a time-consuming, original and inherently catalytic effort,” he said.

Mr. Kern, the current editor, said that this week confirmed that The Tribune had the conviction and muscle to cover its backyard aggressively.

“This was an extraordinary week for The Chicago Tribune,” he said. “On Monday, the company filed for bankruptcy protection, and on Tuesday, this huge story broke. There are two messages there. One, that the business model has to be reinvented and two, the importance of doing public service reporting. In the future, we will be doing fewer things and doing them better, and this kind of reporting will be a pillar of what we continue to do.”

Mr. Possley, who left the newspaper last summer, said he was encouraged that someone, at least the current governor of Illinois, felt that the biggest daily in Chicago was important, however reduced its circumstance.

“What The Tribune was doing with its reporting and on its opinion page was clearly a source of deep concern to Blagojevich and in a sense, you love to see that,” he said. “You have to worry when they start not to care. Then they begin to act as if they are in a vacuum, and that won’t be good for anyone.”

A Scandal in Chicago That Justifies Investigative Journalism,









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Daniel Ellsberg   1931-2023



Richard Nixon (1913-1994)  /

Watergate   1972-1974



Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-1994)

37th President of the United States   1969-1974











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