Articles about "Obituaries"

Obits reflect bias ‘of our forebears,’ NYT editor says

New York Times obituaries editor Bill McDonald said “I understand the complaint” that the Times publishes far more obituaries of men than women. “But I don’t accept the notion that the predominance of men on our pages is a reflection of sexism or male insensitivity or any other kind of ingrained bias on the part of the obituaries editors, as Margaret Sullivan and others imply.”

Sullivan, the Times’ public editor, wrote Monday that “Obituaries are chosen on the basis of the newsworthiness of their subjects; but that is subjective. It’s not outrageous to wonder what might change if more women were involved in all aspects of their selection and presentation.”

In an email, McDonald wrote, “I would submit that it’s a reflection of social history.”

Our mission is to note the deaths and explore the lives of people of one of two (or more) generations removed who essentially made news or reached a level of fame or achieved something that had wide impact. That’s a high bar. That said, we actually make an effort to reflect more diversity on our pages, within that standard of newsworthiness. The fact remains, though, that women and minorities of past generations were not allowed much of a chance to move and shake the world — and to have their obituaries appear one day in The New York Times.

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New York Times is still mostly writing obituaries about men

The New York Times | Mother Jones | Slate

After Lynn Melnick pointed out on Twitter that women made up 7 of the 66 people recently memorialized in The New York Times’ obituaries section, Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan counted, too: “My count yielded similar numbers,” she writes.


“Obituaries are chosen on the basis of the newsworthiness of their subjects; but that is subjective,” Sullivan writes. “It’s not outrageous to wonder what might change if more women were involved in all aspects of their selection and presentation.”

A Mother Jones story late last year found that about 21 percent of the Times’ obituaries were for women. Overall, 77 percent of obituaries at top newspapers were for men, Dana Liebelson reported.

Just “waiting for prominent women to die is a depressing solution,” Amanda Hess writes in Slate, noting that “because women outlive men, even women who were prominent in the 70s and 80s won’t be written up as soon as men from the same era.”

Melnick tells Hess: “I would guess there are dozens of writers, scientists, and academics whose lives and deaths go unnoticed because the men’s lives are perceived as more of note.”

Related: In a story about diversity at liberal magazines, New Republic Editor Franklin Foer tells Gabriel Arana VIDA’s annual count of women’s bylines is “a form of shaming I think is actually fairly effective” and that his staff “began keeping tabs on the number of male and female bylines in each issue and established a goal they want to reach before next year’s numbers come out.”

Also related: Many publications are still ‘Dudeville,’ VIDA says in annual countRead more


1940-2014: Michael Janeway, former editor of The Boston Globe, The Atlantic Monthly

The Boston Globe | The Atlantic

Michael Janeway, former editor of The Boston Globe and executive editor of The Atlantic Monthly, died Thursday at his home in Lakeville, Conn., at age 73.

The Globe’s Joseph P. Kahn quoted author Todd Gitlin on Janeway’s career:

“When Mike saw journalism slipping off the edge into inconsequence or superficiality, he was on the case,” Gitlin said. “He recognized it was a matter of moment to the political life of democracy. I see him as a standard-bearer for professional journalism, a connoisseur of the nobility of intellectual life and journalism’s responsibility to honor it.”

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Joe McGinniss, scourge of politicos and chronicler of crime, dies at 71

Associated Press | Los Angeles Times 

Stories about author-journalist Joe McGinniss are re-emerging in the wake of news that he died Monday in a Worcester, Mass., hospital from complications of prostate cancer.

He once moved next door to Sarah Palin to gather material for his unauthorized biography about her, according to the Associated Press. The subject of his best-selling book, “Fatal Vision,” sued him, claiming McGinniss tricked him into believing the convicted murderer was innocent. McGinniss’ publisher settled out of court for $325,000.

Associated Press reported:

The tall, talkative McGinniss had early dreams of becoming a sports reporter and wrote books about soccer, horse racing and travel. But he was best known for two works that became touchstones in their respective genres — campaign books (”The Selling of the President”) and true crime (”Fatal Vision”). In both cases, he had become fascinated by the difference between public image and private reality.

McGinniss worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer as a columnist while writing the book on Richard Nixon. Nixon’s campaign allowed him access, not suspecting he would turn out a book exposing the soul-less marketing of the presidential candidate. He was unflinching with Democrats as well, although his book, “The Last Brother: The Rise and Fall of Teddy Kennedy,” attributed imagined thoughts to Ted Kennedy and drew rounds of criticism, the Los Angeles Times reported.… Read more


New York Observer’s Peter Kaplan dies at 59

The New York Times | The New York Observer | The Huffington Post

Peter Kaplan, The New York Observer’s editor from 1994 to 2009, died Friday of cancer, The New York Times and Observer reported. He was 59.

The New York Observer described Kaplan as “an outsized figure at the newspaper and across the city itself, not least for launching the careers of writers in every corner of journalism, book publishing and beyond.”

The Observer reprinted Kaplan’s tribute to editor Clay Felker as an example of Kaplan’s adage: “Never hold your best stuff.”

The Huffington Post wrote of Kaplan’s tenure at the Observer:

During his time there its distinctive salmon-colored pages gained a reputation as an authoritative source on the activities and the foibles of New York’s notables. More importantly, the paper became a breeding ground for journalistic talent, and Kaplan pioneered a sharp, sardonic tone that would go on to influence the entire architecture of the media world.

The New York Times reported his survivors include his second wife, Lisa Chase, and their son, David. He was also previously married to Audrey Walker and they had three children. Other survivors include his brothers, James and Robert.




Raul Ramirez, KQED's executive director of news and public affairs, died Nov. 15, 2013. (KQED Photo)

‘Power of voices’: Inspiring last words from journalist Raul Ramirez

Raul Ramirez, KQED’s executive director of news and public affairs, died Nov. 15, 2013. (KQED Photo)

Editor’s note: Raul Ramirez, KQED Public Radio’s executive director of news and public affairs and former Poynter Ethics Fellow, died Nov. 15 at age 67. He was scheduled to receive the 2013 Distinguished Service to Journalism Award from the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and deliver an address that announced creation of the Raul Ramirez Fund for Diversity in Journalism at San Francisco State University. Ramirez passed away before he could give his speech. In his place, Jon Funabiki, SFSU journalism professor who had known Ramirez for 25 years, presented his friend’s address at the chapter’s awards event on Tuesday. The speech is reprinted here with permission from KQED, which originally published it:

Dear Colleagues:

In my four decades as a journalist, the power of people’s voices has shaped my work. To me, journalism has always been about the power of voices.

My earliest adolescent writings were inspired in part by a graphic sticker I plastered on buses and doorways as a young teenager in another country and in another time. Above a drawing of a firing squad executing a man, it proclaimed: “Ideas are to be debated, not assassinated.”

My first true lesson on the power of voices came when I signed up for a journalism course at a South Florida high school.… Read more

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Journalists remember Mary Thom, a feminist editor and writer

The Women’s Media Center | The New York Times | CNN | Ms.

Women’s Media Center Editor-in-Chief Mary Thom died in a motorcycle accident Friday. She was 68. Thom was the former executive editor of Ms. magazine, which she joined in 1972.

We who are Mary’s friends and family haven’t absorbed her loss yet; it’s too sudden,” Women’s Media Center co-founders Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan say in a statement on the site.

Thom, Javier C. Hernández writes, “arrived at Ms. magazine convinced of the need for more scrutiny of lawmakers and their views on issues like abortion and birth control.”… Read more


New York Times revises Koch obit to address AIDS controversy

The Huffington Post | NewsDiffs
The New York Times’ 5,500-word obituary of Ed Koch has been revised at least three times today to update the former New York mayor’s statements about his sexuality and to include the controversy over his handling of the AIDS epidemic, which began during his tenure in the 1980s.

Huffington Post’s Jack Mirkinson details criticism of the original obit. NewsDiffs documents what was added to the Times’ obit by Robert McFadden:… Read more


‘Dear Abby’ writer Pauline Phillips dies at 94

The Associated Press

Pauline Friedman Phillips died Wednesday “after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease,” Steve Karnowski writes. Under the pen name Abigail Van Buren, she wrote a very popular advice column until 1987, when she handed the column to her daughter, Jeanne Phillips.

For years Pauline Phillips competed with her twin sister, Esther Friedman Lederer, who wrote as Ann Landers. Esther’s daughter is advice columnist Margo Howard.

“I’m saddened to hear about the death Pauline Phillips,” advice columnist Dan Savage tells Poynter in an email.… Read more


Two new studies show men outnumber women in obits

Mother Jones | CJR
2012 was a great year for men to die. “Big papers’ lists of significant deaths in 2012 overwhelmingly feature men,” Dana Liebelson writes in Mother Jones.

The Washington Post put 18 women and 48 men on its list. On the other side of the country, the Los Angeles Times listed 36 women and 114 men. And lest you think this is some kind of freak 2012 phenomenon, the New York Times has consistently listed many more men than women over the last five years.

Obituaries are a “rearview mirror,” New York Times obituaries editor Bill McDonald tells Liebelson. “The people we write about largely shaped the world of the 1950s, ’60s and, increasingly, the ’70s, and those movers and shakers were—no surprise—predominantly white men.”… Read more