Remembering Journalists We Lost
As 2008 comes to an end, the Newseum recognizes notable men and women who passed away this year and whose contributions to journalism will not be forgotten.
William F. Buckley Jr. (1925 - 2008)
As a magazine editor, syndicated columnist, prolific author and host of "Firing Line," William F. Buckley Jr. was a one-man media corporation. With his patrician bearing, arched eyebrows and a vocabulary loaded with obscure words, Buckley was considered a favorite conservative of liberals. The National Review, the magazine he founded in 1955, helped elevate conservative opinion into the political mainstream. Buckley died at his desk in his study. "He might have been working on a column," said his son.
Alvah H. Chapman Jr. (1921 - 2008)
Alvah H. Chapman Jr. was born into a newspaper family. He was chairman and CEO of Knight Ridder — formerly the parent company of The Miami Herald — for 13 years and believed that businesses had a responsibility to the communities they served. He led efforts to rebuild South Florida in 1992 after Hurricane Andrew, to house the homeless and to fight drug abuse. "You can’t publish a successful newspaper in a community that’s dying on the vine," he said.
Clay Felker (1928 - 2008)
Clay Felker launched New York magazine in 1968 with smart, sassy articles aimed at young, affluent and upwardly mobile readers. The magazine was a showcase for writers such as Tom Wolfe and Gloria Steinem whose articles embraced the "New Journalism" of the time. New York was copied in other cities, breathing new life into regional magazine publishing. "I’ve been criticized for being elitist," Felker once told The New York Times, "but that’s who … consumes print."
W. Mark Felt (1913 - 2008)
W. Mark Felt was perhaps the most famous anonymous source in journalism history. He was the mysterious informer known as "Deep Throat" who helped Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the Watergate scandal that forced President Richard Nixon to resign. For more than 30 years, his identity was one of Washington’s best-kept secrets. Not until 2005 did Felt, second in command at the FBI at the time of Watergate, reveal his identity. "I’m the guy they used to call "Deep Throat," he told Vanity Fair magazine.
Mary Garber (1916 - 2008)
Winston-Salem Journal sportswriter Mary Garber was barred from membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference Sportswriters Association in the 1950s because she was a woman. Two decades later, she was its president. Garber covered almost every sport, often as the only woman. She called Jackie Robinson, the first black Major League Baseball player, "the most important influence" in her life. "I would look at how he kept his mouth shut and did his job as best he could with the belief that someday he would be accepted," she said. In 2005, she became the first woman to win the Red Smith Award, the highest honor given by the Associated Press Sports Editors.
Tom Gish (1926 - 2008)
Veteran reporter Tom Gish and his wife Pat bought The Mountain Eagle in Whitesburg, Ky., in 1957. The newspaper’s motto: "It Screams!" The crusading Gishes, considered rural America’s best journalists, survived boycotts and in time inspired laws limiting strip mining. When their office was destroyed by arson in 1974, the Gishes published from their home. The front page of the first published paper after the fire had a photo of the burned office, but the top story was about a local tax issue. "It Still Screams!" read the masthead.
Bill Headline (1931 - 2008)
CNN pioneer and veteran newsman Bill Headline had the perfect name for his profession. The former CBS News executive was CNN’s Washington bureau chief for 12 years, during which time he helped bring credibility to the young cable network that critics dubbed the Chicken Noodle Network. He said his work at CNN made him "happy as a clam." He retired from CNN in 1998 and was for two years executive director of the controversial Voter News Service, a now-defunct exit polling organization based in New York.
Jim McKay (1921 - 2008)
Horse racing was "Wide World of Sports" host Jim McKay’s favorite sport. But it was his place at center stage of a world drama at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich for which he is forever linked. When 11 Israeli athletes were taken hostage, McKay anchored 18 hours of field coverage. When the hostages were killed by Palestinian extremists, McKay’s grim words — "They’re all gone" — alerted the world. "I was full of emotion," said McKay, the first sportscaster to win an Emmy. "But when you are a professional, it is important to communicate what it is like, to capture the moment."
Nancy Hicks Maynard (1946 - 2008)
Trailblazer Nancy Hicks Maynard spent more than four decades improving news coverage of the black community. She and her husband, Robert, quit top newspaper jobs in the East and founded the Institute for Journalism Education (renamed the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education) in 1977 in Berkeley, Calif., which opened newsroom doors to journalists of color. In 1983 they bought the Oakland Tribune, making them the first African Americans to own a major daily newspaper. "No job in the world is better than being a newspaper publisher," said Maynard, who was also chair of the defunct Freedom Forum Media Studies Center.
Ike Pappas (1933 - 2008)
Ike Pappas covered the Vietnam War, the Kent State uprising and other major stories for CBS News in the 1960s, but it was his on-the-spot account of the surprised shooting of presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald for which he is best known. Pappas was among a group of reporters in the basement of the Dallas police station in 1963 when Oswald was being escorted to jail. Pappas had just asked Oswald a question when nightclub owner Jack Ruby pushed him aside and shot Oswald. "There’s a shot! Oswald has been shot!" Pappas reported live to the radio audience. He later testified at Ruby’s trial and before the Warren Commission.
Dith Pran (1942 - 2008)
Dith Pran was a translator and assistant to New York Times correspondent Sydney Schanberg in Cambodia in 1975 when the country fell to the brutal Khmer Rouge. Pran was imprisoned for four years, suffering severe beatings and subsisting on a teaspoon of rice a day. He escaped Cambodia in 1979, trekking 60 miles to Thailand. The critically acclaimed movie "The Killing Fields" chronicled his and Schanberg’s experiences. He moved to New York in 1980 and became a Times photographer. His theory of photojournalism: "You have to be a pineapple. You have to have a hundred eyes."
Tim Russert (1950 - 2008)
Tim Russert died doing what he loved: preparing for Sunday’s edition of "Meet the Press," where he had been the moderator since 1991. His aggressive but balanced interviewing style earned him the respect of fellow journalists and the politicians and celebrities he interviewed. His use of a low-tech eraser board to predict the key to winning the 2000 presidential elections — "Florida! Florida! Florida" — remains one of the most memorable events in political news coverage. Russert was a Newseum trustee.
Tony Snow (1955 - 2008)
Tony Snow said he felt stalked all his adult life by the threat of colon cancer, which killed his mother when he was 17. When his colon cancer recurred in 2007, two years after an initial diagnosis, the former newspaper editor and columnist, TV and radio host and White House press secretary handled the news publicly, candidly and with his customary grace. "Not everybody will survive cancer," he said in 2007, but on the other hand, you’ve got to realize you’ve got the gift of life, so make the most of it."
Studs Terkel (1912 - 2008)
Studs Terkel was a journalistic original whose taped oral histories painted American life with the voices of regular folk. "I celebrate the non-celebrated," he said. His history of World War II won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. Other articles and books mined the Great Depression, the American Dream and race. In 1997, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal for giving ordinary citizens a voice. What did his interviews teach him? "Geez, that the human race is somethin’."
These journalists are featured in Newseum galleries and exhibits. They are honored separately from the journalists who were killed in 2008 trying to report the news. For a preliminary list of those journalists, visit the Journalists Memorial gallery.