Gene Roberts

Gene Roberts is a retired journalism professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. He was a reporter and editor with the Detroit Free Press, The Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot and The Goldsboro News-Argus before joining The New York Times in 1965, where until 1972 he served as chief Southern and civil rights correspondent, chief war correspondent in South Vietnam, and national editor. During his 18 years as executive editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, his staff won 17 Pulitzer Prizes. He later became managing editor of the Times.


Roberts: Can’t Lose Sight of Journalistic Obligations

It is an honor for me to deliver
the Neal Shine lecture on ethics. Neal
was one of my favorite people. He
brightened the Detroit Free Press newsroom for decades with his wit and wisdom. He cared deeply about Detroit
and his newspaper. He worked tirelessly
to cover the news.

His enthusiasm and leadership could
be amazing. Once, when a huge fire was
raging in the middle of the night, he called staff member after staff member to
roust them from their beds. “Don’t comb
your hair,” he told one reporter. “Don’t wash your face. Just jump into your
pants. Then jump into your car. And get here.
Do not fool around.”

The reporter did just as Neal
directed. He jumped into his pants. He jumped into his car.… Read more

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