As 2015 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.
As The New York Times’s renowned media critic, David Carr appealed to a wide audience that trusted him to get to the core of an issue. His weekly column, “The Media Equation,” was a must-read for those looking for honest and thoughtful commentary on TV, journalism and culture. “If you dumped every reporter who ever sent a snide message or talked smack in private, there would be nothing but crickets chirping in newsrooms all over America,” he wrote.
John S. Carroll was one of the most influential newspaper editors in journalism. Under his leadership, the Lexington Herald-Leader, Baltimore Sun and Los Angeles Times won multiple Pulitzer Prizes for investigative reporting, photography and criticism. In 2005, Carroll resigned from the Times, frustrated with ongoing staff reductions due to budget cuts. “The journalist believes that he or she works not for the shareholder primarily, but for the reader and for the public,” he said.
For 35 years, Richard Corliss elevated movie criticism to an art form at Time magazine. The prolific author and longtime movie buff panned and praised films, directors and screenwriters in a distinct writing style that included his firm opinions. Corliss appreciated a wide variety of movie genres. “Everything is worth seeing,” he said.
Arnaud De Borchgrave was born a Belgian count but became one of journalism’s most colorful, prolific and swashbuckling correspondents. He was a foreign reporter for Newsweek, editor of The Washington Times and editor-at-large of United Press International. In 1980, he co-wrote “The Spike,” a best-selling novel about Russian moles in the mainstream media. “Black tie, white tie or combat fatigues, I was working,” he said.
Dan Farrell was one of three photographers credited with capturing one of the most iconic and enduring moments in history: three-year-old John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father’s caisson-driven coffin. Farrell, a photographer working for the New York Daily News, trained his Hasselblad camera on the Kennedys as they left the cathedral. After hearing the first lady say, “John-John, salute,” Farrell took the photo. “One shot, one frame, and it was all over,” he said.
Dori J. Maynard was a fervent advocate of newsroom diversity. As president of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, she held the press accountable for its portrayals of people of color. In 2012, when unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin was shot to death in Florida, she wrote in the Oakland Tribune that it was time for the news media “to look at what our distorted coverage of communities of color is doing to the country.”
Former New York Post editor Vincent Musetto penned one of the most famous headlines in tabloid journalism history. “Headless Body in Topless Bar” described the grisly murder in April 1983 of a Queens, N.Y., tavern owner. The headline became an instant classic, appearing on T-shirts, and was the title of a 2007 book on the Post’s best headlines. Musetto said his favorite headline was one he wrote the following year: “Granny Executed in Her Pink Pajamas.”
Ralph J. Roberts bought a 1,200-subscriber cable TV system in 1963, and with a series of cable system acquisitions around the country, built it into Comcast — the world’s largest cable television corporation by revenue — and owner of NBCUniversal. By giving viewers hundreds of channels to choose from, Roberts helped revolutionize the way Americans watched TV. “As I began to look at what was happening, I realized the cable business was the best of all the ones I had invested in,” he said.
A pioneering news anchor for ABC and CBS, Marlene Sanders’s award-winning career spanned a time when female anchors were rare. She became the first woman to anchor a primetime newscast in 1964 when she filled in for an ailing anchor. She was the first female correspondent to report from Vietnam and was the first female vice president of a network news operation. Sanders disliked the term newsman. “It’s like putting up a sign: ‘For Men Only,’” she said.
With signature catchphrases such as “booyah” and “cool as the other side of the pillow,” Stuart Scott transformed sportscasting with a hip-hop delivery that appealed to a new generation of viewers and athletes and helped make ESPN’s “SportsCenter” must-see TV. His smooth, on-air flair made him one of ESPN’s most popular anchors. “Writing is better if it’s kept simple,” he said. “I’ve said ‘ain’t’ on the air, because I sometimes use ‘ain’t’ when I’m talking.
Bob Simon was a “reporter’s reporter,” a master storyteller who could cover any topic anywhere in the world. The award-winning correspondent for CBS News and “60 Minutes” was on one of the last helicopters to leave Saigon in 1975, and was imprisoned and tortured for 40 days in 1991 by the Iraqi army during the war in the Persian Gulf. He wrote about his imprisonment in the book “Forty Days.” “I wrote about it because I needed to write about it,” he said.
Claude Sitton was a son of the South, and the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s was his news beat. From 1958 to 1964, he covered the biggest stories of the era for The New York Times and later for The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., where in 1983 he won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary. In 1962, Sitton led a news story in the Times about a voting rights meeting in a Georgia church with a quote from the sheriff who interrupted the meeting: “We want our colored people to go on living like they have for the past 100 years,” Sitton wrote.