October 22, 2014

In 1986, Poynter’s Newsleaders series filmed an interview with Ben Bradlee, then editor of The Washington Post. Bradlee died on Tuesday, October 21, at the age of 93.

You can see the full interview, in which Bradlee talks about Watergate, the Pentagon Papers and his partnership with Katharine Graham.

Here are seven things he said from that interview in 1986. Let’s begin with the introduction, because, well, you’ll see.

1. “It ain’t necessarily so.”

2. “… A better informed world is a better world.”

3. “The power of The Washington Post lies first and above all in the fact that it is published in the capital of the free world. It’s a geographic power. I mean, if we were in Omaha, we would not be as powerful as we are.”

4. “If I meet someone new, it’s odds on that they’ll say, ‘well you don’t look like Jason Robards.'”

5. “I’m more worried about the relationship of the press and government, to working that out, rather than I am worried about the relationship of the press and the public. I think the public eventually works that out pretty well, it seems to me.”


6. “We’ve got a lot of jobs to do but one of them is not be loved. We don’t have to be loved. We have to be respected, I think.”

7. “I hope people will be sorry that I’ve gone, will be appreciative of what I’ve tried to do, but I think it will be a blip.”

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Kristen Hare covers the people and business of local news and is the editor of Locally at Poynter. She previously worked as a staff writer…
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