Monday, October 1, 2012

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, 1926-2012

The Publishing Life

“In 1963, after a debilitating 114-day newspaper strike in New York, [Times Publisher Orvil E.] Dryfoos died of a heart attack. [Arthur Ochs] Sulzberger, then 37, was named publisher, despite some family resistance. He later described himself as ‘shellshocked’ by the job. ‘My sister Ruth called me after my first day as publisher and asked me how it had gone,’ he recalled, ‘and I said, ‘I’ve made my first executive decision. I’ve decided not to throw up.’”

—Patricia Sullivan, writing the Washington Post’s obit for 
Arthur Ochs “Punch” Sulzburger (1926-2012), 
New York Times publisher 1963-1997
Sept. 29, 2012

The New York Times’ own extraordinary obit: “Arthur O.Sulzberger, Publisher Who Changed The Times, Dies at 86” 

Video remembrance from the New York Times.

• Editorial Comment: Say what you will about the Times or its four generations of family leadership (“Nepotism works,” Sulzberger once quipped),The New York Times for the past century has been an enormous force for journalism and public service.


“Punch, the old Marine captain who never backed down from a fight, was an absolutely fierce defender of the freedom of the press. His inspired leadership in landmark cases such as New York Times v. Sullivan and the Pentagon Papers helped to expand access to critical information and to prevent government censorship and intimidation.”—Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., Sulzberger’s son and Times publisher since 1997

“He was a mythic figure in our house—the man who defied the orders of the White House and the threat of jail to publish the Pentagon Papers.” —Andrew Rosenthal, Times' editorial page editor

“It was Punch Sulzberger who made the decision to resist the government’s effort. In making that decision he set in motion a litigation which not only preserved but protected the First Amendment for generations. It was Punch Sulzberger who decided that this was a case that had to be fought. That decision was one that will be honored among not only journalists but future generations of Americans.” —Floyd Abrams, the lawyer who represented the Times in the Pentagon Papers case.

He was a firm believer in the importance of a free and independent press—one that isn’t afraid to seek the truth, hold those in power accountable, and tell the stories that need to be told.”—President Barack Obama

• Yesterday’s WORD: Did you miss yesterday’s WORDs from humorist Don Marquis, on writing and thinking? Click here.

PeezPIX by Ted Pease


Fall Harvest on Utah’s Fruitway, Brigham City


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