December 19, 2013

Remembering the Newspeople We Lost

Richard Ben Cramer (1950-2013)
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Richard Ben Cramer (1950-2013)
(Photo Courtesy The Associated Press)
Richard Ben Cramer won a Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for international reporting, but it was his classic book about the 1988 presidential campaign, "What It Takes: The Way to the White House," that earned him critical acclaim. Unlike most political books that focused on the process, Cramer provided intimate deals about the six candidates and the reasons they wanted to be president. "I wasn't asking them how many points did they need in Iowa. I was asking them about their Aunt Lucy or their Aunt Gladys," Cramer said.

Roger Ebert (1942-2013)
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Roger Ebert (1942-2013)
(Photo Courtesy Sam Mircovich/Reuters)
Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert could determine a movie's fate with the flick of his thumb. His and the late Gene Siskel's trademark thumbs-up or thumbs-down rating system influenced millions of movie-goers. Two thumbs up was the equivalent of a four-star seal of approval. Ebert wrote more than 300 movie reviews a year and was planning a fourth book before he died. "Thank you for going on this journey with me," he said in his final blog. "I'll see you at the movies."

Bill Eppridge (1938-2013)
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Bill Eppridge (1938-2013)
(Photo Copyright R. David Marks, Courtesy of Monroe Gallery)
Life magazine photographer Bill Eppridge captured one of the most iconic moments in U.S. history: Sen. Robert F. Kennedy mortally wounded by an assassin's bullet. Eppridge's interest in photojournalism began in high school, where he took photos for the newspaper and yearbook. An internship in 1959 at Life began a professional career that lasted until the magazine folded in 1972. "What makes a picture is a moment that is completely spontaneous and natural and unaffected by the photographer," he said.

Jack Germond (1928-2013)
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Jack Germond (1928-2013)
(Photo Courtesy Ann Parks Hawthorne)
Former Baltimore Sun political reporter Jack Germond covered every presidential campaign since 1964. A throwback to early newspaper reporting, Germond was the go-to reporter on national politics. He wrote the syndicated "Politics Today" column with former Washington Post reporter Jules Witcover and provided a liberal voice on television's"The McLaughlin Group." "You could write your damn fingers off for 25 years and never have the same reach as television," he said.

Stanley Karnow (1925-2013)
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Stanley Karnow (1925-2013)
(Photo Courtesy Catherine Karnow)
In 1959, Stanley Karnow wrote a story for Time magazine about the killing of two U.S. soldiers in Bien Hoa. The men became the first U.S. casualties in the decades-long Vietnam War. Karnow, a Pulitzer Prize winner for his comprehensive coverage of U.S. involvement in the Philippines, later produced a blockbuster PBS documentary and companion book on U.S. involvement in Vietnam. "Nobody could have imagined then that some 3 million Americans would serve in Vietnam, or that nearly 58,000 would perish in its jungles and rice fields," he said.

Anthony Lewis (1927-2013)
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Anthony Lewis (1927-2013)
(Photo Courtesy The Associated Press)
Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Anthony Lewis once said he was "probably made to be a lawyer," as evidenced by his staunch advocacy of civil liberties and a thorough knowledge of Supreme Court issues, which he covered for The New York Times. His 1964 book "Gideon's Trumpet," based on the landmark case that gave defendants the right to legal counsel, was made into a movie and is still used in law schools.

Al Neuharth (1924-2013)
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Al Neuharth (1924-2013)
(Photo Courtesy Dave Eggen/The Associated Press)
Al Neuharth was a driving force in newspaper innovation, journalism education and newsroom diversity. In 1982, he founded USA Today, the colorful, groundbreaking national newspaper that was originally derided as fast food journalism. USA Today became one of the most imitated newspapers in the country and No. 1 in print circulation. In 1989, Neuharth founded the Freedom Forum, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to the First Amendment. In 1997, he founded the Newseum. "As a journalist, I had a wonderful window on the world," he said.

John Palmer (1935-2013)
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John Palmer (1935-2013)
(Photo Courtesy Evan Agostini/The Associated Press)
Longtime NBC News correspondent John Palmer was known not only for his tireless coverage of the White House and major news events around the world, but for his graciousness and gentlemanly manner. Palmer worked for NBC from 1962 to 1990 covering five presidents, and reported on some of the biggest stories in history. In 1980, he scooped the rest of the media by breaking the news of the failed attempt to rescue the American hostages in Iran.

Eugene C. Patterson (1923-2013)
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Eugene C. Patterson (1923-2013)
(Photo Courtesy The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Eugene C. Patterson was one of a few brave southern editors who used his newspaper to support civil rights. In 1963, after a church bombing killed four young black girls in Birmingham, Ala., he wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial condemning the killing: "A Negro mother wept in the street Sunday morning. … In her hand she held a shoe … from the foot of her dead child. … Every one of us in the white South holds that small shoe in his hand." Said Patterson about the editorial: "It was the only time I was absolutely sure I was right."

Pat Summerall (1930-2013)
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Pat Summerall (1930-2013)
(Photo Courtesy Dave Pickoff/The Associated Press)
Football player-turned-sports broadcaster Pat Summerall was half of one of the most recognizable and entertaining broadcasting teams in pro football. With John Madden, his play-by-play announcing partner, the deep-voiced Summerall called NFL games for 21 years on CBS and Fox. He spent 10 seasons in the NFL, and was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association's Hall of Fame. "John looks at it from a coach's angle. I bring a player's point of view," Summerall said about their broadcasting styles.

Helen Thomas (1920-2013)
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Helen Thomas (1920-2013)
(Photo Courtesy Helen Thomas)
Helen Thomas was as much a Washington institution as the institution she'd covered since 1961. Called the "dean" of the White House press corps, she covered the administrations of 10 presidents, beginning with John F. Kennedy. Thomas was famous for her pointed questions and comments during press conferences, and for the red dresses she began wearing during President Ronald Reagan's administration. "To this day, when I make a speaking appearance, someone will ask me, 'Where is that red dress?'" she said.

Lee Thornton (1942-2013)
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Lee Thornton (1942-2013)
(Photo Courtesy Lee Thornton)
Lee Thornton was a trailblazer in radio and television. She was the first black female journalist to regularly cover the White House for a major news network, and was the first black host of NPR's popular "All Things Considered." She retired in 2011 as the interim dean of journalism at the University of Maryland. Throughout her career, Thornton struggled with male-dominated newsrooms. "I tried appeasing it, fighting with it, bargaining with it, and in the end, resigning myself to it," she said.

Abigail Van Buren (1918-2013)
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Abigail Van Buren (1918-2013)
(Photo Courtesy Phillips-Van Buren, Inc.)
Pauline Esther Phillips was known to millions of readers around the world as advice columnist Abigail Van Buren, or "Dear Abby." In 1956, Van Buren told editors at the San Francisco Chronicle that she could "write a better advice column than the one you've been printing." "Dear Abby" became one of the country's most popular columns, rivaling that of her twin sister — "Ann Landers."  "Everyday, I get letters from people who say, 'You changed my life,'" Van Buren said. "Now, that's important."

As 2013 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 trying to report the news. For a list of those names, please visit the Journalists Memorial.

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