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Friday, June 16, 2017

Carrying the lamp for editorial fairness

To love what you do and feel that it matters – how could anything be more fun?”
 – Katharine Graham

 Award-winning writer, and publisher of The Washington Post for over two decades, Graham was born this date in 1917.  Today, she’s especially remembered for her newspaper's role in exposing the Watergate Scandal.  I loved reading her Pulitzer Prize winning memoir, simply titled Personal History, and what a history it was, exuding both her joy of working in media and the fun she had doing it.  She and her editorial team revived a so-so newspaper and made it a national powerhouse, and the investigative effort during Watergate stands as a benchmark for “how it’s done.”

A Republican who oversaw investigative reporting of a Republican president, she said politics should never get in the way of good reporting.  “It matters not if a person is from one party or another.  If someone has done something that needs to be exposed in print, then that’s what a good reporter should do.”                      

A personal friend of luminaries like Truman Capote and Adlai Stevenson, who was twice a candidate for U.S. President and served as the U.N. Ambassador, she was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom shortly before her death in 2001. The International Press Institute named her one of the world’s 50 most influential and powerful media people of the 20th century in 2000.

“Once, power was considered a masculine attribute,” Graham said when told of the honor.  “In fact, power has no sex.”

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