As 2014 comes to an end, the Newseum recognizes notable men and women who passed away this year whose contributions to journalism will not be forgotten. Many of them are featured in Newseum galleries and exhibits and are honored separately from the journalists who were killed around the world reporting the news. For a list of those names, please visit the Journalists Memorial.
Charles Barsotti created thousands of editorial cartoons for New Yorker magazine, each one exhibiting the style and subtle humor that made the magazine world renown. A 1993 cartoon depicting a depressed humanized TV set lying on a psychiatrist’s couch displayed Barsotti’s keen understanding of the changing media landscape. “It may be ‘antic’ art,” Barsotti said about cartooning, “but there’s an integrity to this stuff.”
Watergate and the Pentagon Papers secured Ben Bradlee’s place among the greatest journalists in history. The Watergate scandal ended a presidency; the decision to join The New York Times and publish the Pentagon Papers upheld the First Amendment. “If there is a moment in Washington that I love more than anything else, it’s when a news story gets the town by the throat and just won’t let go … and Watergate was such a case,” he said.
Michel du Cille was a three-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his work chronicling the aftermath of a volcano eruption in Colombia, the effects of crack cocaine in Miami, and the harsh conditions of veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The last months of his life were spent covering the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia. “I believe that the world must see the horrible and dehumanizing effects of Ebola,” he said.
Arthur Gelb began his career at The New York Times in 1944 as a copy boy, rising to become an influential cultural critic and finally the paper’s managing editor. Gelb’s inexperience on an assignment early in his career covering the crash of a B-25 bomber into the Empire State Building taught him what he called “a journalistic virtue: naiveté.” Gelb was a relentless editor with a keen news sense that helped shape and define award-winning Times news coverage.
Richard C. Hottelet was the last of the original “Murrow Boys,” the men and women who worked closely with legendary broadcaster Edward R. Murrow as part of CBS Radio’s historic D-Day coverage during World War II. He covered the Battle of the Bulge and was the first correspondent to report the D-Day seaborne invasion of Normandy. Hottelet called his job “intoxicating. It was your voice, your report,” he said.
Frank Mankiewicz’s career in journalism was a unique hybrid of politics and media. The son of an Academy Award-winning director and nephew of an Academy Award-winning screenwriter, Mankiewicz bypassed Hollywood for politics. He was Robert F. Kennedy’s press secretary in 1968. In 1977, he was president of National Public Radio, where he helped start long-running “Morning Edition.” “I know everyone in Washington,” he said, “and half of them owe me something. The other half, I owe.”
“Fatal Vision,” Joe McGinniss’s controversial, best-selling 1983 exposé of the Jeffrey MacDonald murder case, sparked lasting debates about journalistic ethics. The former newspaper reporter’s writing style often put him in the narrative. “The only valid kind of writing is simply one guy telling you where he’s been, what he knows and feels,” he said.
Bruce Morton was known for his political reporting and incisive writing, talents that earned him the title “modern-day news poet.” He spent 29 years at CBS News and13 at CNN, retiring in 2006. After the death of civil rights activist Rosa Parks in 2005, Morton wrote: “She resisted, just the way we’d all want our daughters to resist: polite, soft-spoken and tough as nails.”
John Seigenthaler was a journalism, civil rights and First Amendment icon. In 1991, the former Tennessean publisher founded the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center, where he encouraged national debate and dialogue about First Amendment rights and values. “Every time we open our mouths to praise or criticize a politician, or to utter a prayer, or to write a sentence on our computer keyboard, we have exercised the rights covered by that one amendment that protects us all,” he said.
Chuck Stone Jr. edited three of the most powerful black newspapers in the country before working at the Philadelphia Daily News, where for 19 years his outspoken columns were so influential that felons surrendered to him instead of to the police. “You have to stand up for what you believe,” he said. “You don’t give up.” He was the first president of the National Association of Black Journalists and taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Cartoonist Charles Schulz inspired Morrie Turner to become a comic strip artist. In 1964, Turner created “Wee Pals,” which followed a gang of racially diverse kids who exchanged views on life, childhood and race. It appeared in more than 100 newspapers and helped pave the way for other black cartoonists. “I thought that just by exposing readers to the sight of Negroes and whites playing together in harmony … a useful, if subliminal, purpose would be served,” he said.
Garrick Utley went from office clerk to war reporter in one year. He joined NBC News in Brussels in 1963 and spent the next 30 years covering wars, diplomatic summits and the fall of communism. He moderated “Meet the Press” for two years and later worked for ABC and CNN. By 2004, Utley thought the role of TV reporters had been diminished to “color commentators who narrate news events rather than carrying out in-depth news reporting.”
Baltimore Afro-American reporter William Worthy defied U.S. travel restrictions to communist-led countries such as Cuba and China. In 1956, he traveled to China where he interviewed Zhou Enlai, the first premier of the People’s Republic of China. In 1960, he visited Cuba to report on the effects of the communist revolution in that island nation. News people, Worthy said, “should not be prohibited by the U.S. government from traveling wherever news is breaking.”