Newspaper days: Leaders and rebels

sagemacObituaries today for the famous editor John Carroll opened a window for me on late chapters of traditional newspapers and newsrooms.

The lede on the Washington Post obituary said this: “John S. Carroll, who guided the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun and Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky to Pulitzer Prizes and who was considered one of the most distinguished and inspiring newspaper editors of his time, died June 14 at his home in Lexington, Ky. He was 73.”

The New York Times led with this: “John S. Carroll, a widely admired newspaper editor who restored the reputation and credibility of The Los Angeles Times in the early 2000s even as he fought bitterly with the paper’s cost-conscious corporate parent, died on Sunday morning at his home in Lexington, Ky. He was 73.”

The sixth paragraph of the Los Angeles Times obit said this: “Carroll, a courageous editor whose instinct for the big story and unrelenting focus on the craft of journalism guided the Los Angeles Times to new heights, including a record 13 Pulitzer Prizes in five years, died Sunday in Lexington, Ky., of Creutzfeldt-Jakob, a degenerative brain disease. He was 73.”

Both the Post and the New York Times went on to note one of Carroll’s best-known critics, David Simon, writer of the much-praised TV series The Wire and a Baltimore Sun police reporter who left the paper during Carroll’s reign.

This led me to read about David Simon. I came across a long piece by Mark Bowden, published in The Atlantic in 2008, called The Angriest Man in Television.

Bowden acknowledged that he was a friend of Carroll and that Simon had big criticisms of his story in The Atlantic. Bowden is critical of Simon.

I’d recommend reading each of these stories.latimes

I came away admiring Carroll and fearing there are few like him left in the business.

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