News, notes and follow-ups

Category: journalism

One year ago: Veteran journalist William Trombley

Trombley William Trombley's approach to covering a meeting of the UC regents left a lasting impression on Jane V. Wellman, a former UC budget analyst.

"He covered those meetings with gleeful intensity, forgiving them nothing if their work offended his idea of what a public governing board should do, which was to oversee and protect the public interest," Wellman told The Times' Elaine Woo.

Trombley spent nearly 30 years at The Times and was known for reshaping the paper's coverage of higher education.

After leaving The Times in 1992, Trombley founded and edited an influential quarterly called National CrossTalk with the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education in San Jose. He also wrote for Life magazine.

His news obituary appeared on Sept. 11, 2009.

-- Keith Thursby

Photo: William Trombley, with his wife, Audrey, in 1999. Credit: Rod Searcey

Times editorial cartoonist Paul Conrad dies at 86


Paul Conrad, whose fiercely confrontational editorial cartoons made him one of the leading political provocateurs of the second half of the 20th century and helped push the Los Angeles Times to national prominence, has died. He was 86.

Conrad died early Saturday of natural causes, surrounded by his family at his home in Rancho Palos Verdes, said his son David.

Conrad won three Pulitzer Prizes, a feat matched by only two other cartoonists in the post-World War II era, while both thrilling and infuriating readers for more than 50 years with an unyielding liberal stance, rendered in savage black and white.

Mayors, governors and presidents cringed at the prospect of being on the business end of Conrad's searing pen, while many Southern Californians made him their first stop as they sifted through The Times, the newspaper that was his principal home for nearly 30 years.

A full obituary will follow at

-- James Rainey and Claire Noland

Photo: Editorial cartoonist Paul Conrad of The Times. Credit: Huntington Library / ITVS

One year ago: Christian Poveda

Filmmaker and photojournalist Christian Poveda spent years in El Salvador chronicling the lives of the brutal street gangs, which arose from the ashes of the country's civil war. He ultimately paid for the work with his life, dying one year ago, after being ambushed and shot to death on his way home from work.

Poveda, who came to El Salvador in the 1980s as a photographer covering the civil war, had spent 16 months with members of Mara 18, establishing a relationship, gaining their trust and filming a documentary, which won cinematographic awards internationally. His death came a day after he spoke to The Times about his film.

"My proposal was at least one year of filming, and I explained my plan to them, which essentially was to show the human aspect of the gangs, to show who they are, these youngsters. And that really interested them," Poveda said. "And I was present for everything that might happen, the good things and the bad, and that established a relationship of trust."

That trust was betrayed, however, when new, less politically minded leadership took over the gangs. Shortly before his death, he expressed worry about the gang's growing violence and savagery.

Police said they believed Poveda was killed by Mara 18 gangsters who were part of the new generation he had alluded to, young thugs who either did not know him or, if they did, resented his work.

Read more about Christian Poveda's life and work in The Times.

-- Michael Farr

Jayne Brumley Ikard, pioneering Newsweek journalist, dies at 83

Jayne Brumley Ikard, one of Newsweek magazine's first female bureau chiefs and a prominent Washington hostess, has died. She was 83.

Ikard died Friday from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Washington, according to her son, Bryan Brumley, a former Associated Press bureau chief.

Born Mary Jane Keegan, Ikard changed her name to Jayne because she liked how it looked. She studied journalism at Boston University, and in 1951 married Calvin Brumley, whom she met at the Lubbock Avalanche Journal.

The couple followed Calvin Brumley's career to Denver, New York, Jacksonville, Fla., and Boston, where Ikard wrote a column for the Boston Herald. In 1964, she became head of Newsweek's Boston bureau, where she covered national politics, including Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign and funeral and the aftermath of Chappaquiddick and Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Ikard was appointed director of public relations for the newly created President's Council on Environmental Quality in 1969 and after her husband's death in 1972, she wrote in a Saturday Evening Post story that she was determined "to become the best informed female international environmentalist."

She met former U.S. Rep. Frank Ikard during a trip to Stockholm for the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment.

They were married weeks later in Austin, Tex. The couple lived in Washington until Frank Ikard's death in 1991, hosting many events at their home with a mix of politicians, diplomats and journalists.

One year ago: Dominick Dunne

Dominck-dunn Dominick Dunne seemed to have everyone whispering in his ear. The author and Vanity Fair writer, who died one year ago, made a career out of exposing the scandals of the Hollywood elite and zealously crusading against celebrity criminals.

Dunne was called the "Boswell of the bluebloods" and the "Jacqueline Susann of journalism," and he was described by the Cambridge History of Law in America as "one of the nation's premier popular chroniclers of notorious criminal trials and lawsuits involving celebrities."

Former Vanity Fair Editor Tina Brown said he was "the only person writing about high society from inside the aquarium."

Dunne fluidly mixed fact and rumor in his exposés, which were well-laden with anonymous sources. His technique earned him the disdain of many. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., after the murder conviction of his cousin Michael Skakel, said Dunne -- who fought for the conviction -- was "not a journalist. He's a gossip columnist."

Dunne was a television and film producer for two decades until drugs and alcohol ruined him. He had started life over as a writer when his daughter, Dominique, was killed in 1982. The slaying energized his foray into crime and court coverage, which was epitomized by the vigilance with which he advocated for O.J. Simpson's conviction in the murder of Simpson's wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ron Goldman.

Although conviction in the criminal case never came to be, Dunne, while ill, covered Simpson's 2008 armed robbery trial in Las Vegas, which resulted in a pronouncement of guilt -- a verdict that had Dunne awaited for more than a decade.

For more, read Dominick Dunne's obituary by The Times' Elaine Woo.

-- Michael Farr

Photo: Dominick Dunne. Credit: Associated Press

One year ago: Don Hewitt

Don-hewitt Don Hewitt, a broadcast news pioneer who died one year ago, introduced the world to the TV news magazine with "60 Minutes," a news show with the flexibility and diversity of a magazine, adapted to broadcast journalism.

Hewitt's "60 Minutes," the show with the iconic ticking stopwatch, offered a mix of exposes, human-interest stories and profiles -- a model Hewitt admitted he took right from Life magazine.

The genre-creating program eventually become the top-rated show on television, and with its success came a host of copycats, including ABC's "20/20" and NBC's "Dateline."

But Hewitt, who was described by colleagues as an "idea-a-minute personality," had done his share of innovation long before there was ever a "60 Minutes."

As producer of CBS' "Douglas Edwards With the News" (a forerunner of  "CBS Evening News"), he began putting the anchor's script on poster boards next to the camera, a practice that led to the modern TelePrompTer. Later, during the 1952 Republican Party convention, he came up with the idea of superimposing on screen the identities of people who appeared on camera.

He also produced and directed the first televised presidential debate, between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, in 1960.

"He was just a great, legendary editor," said Morley Safer, a longtime "60 Minutes" reporter. "And Don's hands on a story always made it leaner, tougher, more direct and more readily understandable. Which is the job of an editor, and he was absolutely superb at it."

For more on the broadcast news trailblazer, read Don Hewitt's L.A. Times obituary by Dennis McLellan and view a photo gallery of Hewitt's life.

-- Michael Farr

Photo: Don Hewitt in 1976. Credit: Associated Press / CBS Photo Archive

One year ago: Robert Novak

Robert-novakRobert Novak was right when he predicted the lead of his own obituary. It wasn't his years as a reporter for the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal that gained him posthumous notoriety, but rather a story he broke late in his career as a columnist -- one that he considered comparatively minor.

Novak, who died one year ago, was the first journalist to disclose the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame -- a three-sentence revelation that he credited with ruining his 25-year relationship with CNN and his regular appearances on "Meet the Press."

The July 14, 2003, column stirred up a political storm in Washington. Before it was over, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice, and the controversy had exposed journalists' coziness with official sources. It also tarnished the reputations of two key administration figures -- political guru Karl Rove and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage -- who confessed to leaking Plame's identity to reporters.

Novak's began his journalism career as an AP reporter who made a habit of taking assignments his more senior colleagues disdained. Then, in 1962 while at the Wall Street Journal, Novak began a 30-year partnership with fellow journalist Rowland Evans. He and Evans started a column that eventually won national syndication, and in 1980, they launched a show on CNN called "Evans and Novak."

Novak, known for his conservative politics, once described his journalistic philosophy this way: "To tell the world things people do not want me to reveal, to advocate limited government, economic freedom and a strong, prudent America -- and to have fun doing it."

For more, read Robert Novak's obituary by The Times.

--Michael Farr

Photo: Robert Novak during a July 2007 taping of "Meet the Press." Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images

Dan Avey, longtime radio reporter, dies at 69

Aveydanstar6 Dan Avey, a longtime reporter and anchor on several Southern California radio stations and a former radio and television analyst with the Los Angeles Kings, has died. He was 69.

Avey died Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of complications from prostate cancer, said his daughter, Kim Clemens.

Avey spent seven seasons with the Kings, from 1969 until 1976. He also worked in the Kings' front office in 1973.

During his radio career in Southern California, Avey primarily worked at KFWB, KFI and KABC as a reporter and anchor for news and sports. He earned 15 Golden Mike awards. He also taught at USC and Cal State Northridge.

Daniel Sumner Avey was born April 26, 1941, in Spokane, Wash., and raised in Whittier. He attended California High in Whittier, then returned to Washington to attend Gonzaga University. He graduated in 1963 with a bachelor's degree in psychology.

Avey spent 1966-68 in the Army and served in Vietnam as a member of the Green Berets.

His first radio job was at Spokane, Wash., station where he was billed as disc jockey Danny Morrow.

Avey's survivors include his wife, Michele Davis-Avey; three other children, Kristin Romano, Ally Avey and Jennifer Avey; six grandchildren and brothers Mike and Tom.

Services are pending.

-- Keith Thursby

Photo: Dan Avey

Conservative columnist James J. Kilpatrick dies at 89

James J. Kilpatrick, who rose from cub reporter to become one of the South's most prominent newspaper editors and the nation's most widely syndicated political columnist, has died. He was 89.

Kilpatrick's wife, Marianne Means, says he died Sunday night at George Washington University Hospital. Means says he was being treated for congestive heart failure.

TV watchers in the 1970s knew Kilpatrick as the conservative half of the "Point-Counterpoint" segment of the CBS program "60 Minutes." His sparring with liberal commentator Shana Alexander was famously parodied on "Saturday Night Live."

Kilpatrick's column ran in The Times from 1964 until 1986.

A full obituary will follow at

-- Associated Press

Photo: James J. Kilpatrick, longtime editor of the Roanoake (Va.) News Leader and a conservative columnist, with President Nixon at the White House in 1974. Credit: White House

Veteran journalist Daniel Schorr, 93: From typewriter to Twitter

Dan Daniel Schorr, 93, the fiercely independent former CBS newsman and National Public Radio commentator who died Friday, reported on and analyzed many of the most important events of the last six decades, including the Cold War, Watergate and President Johnson's war on poverty. Last year, with a nudge from younger NPR colleagues, he marked another milestone: He learned to use Twitter.

On a Feb. 28, 2009, segment of "Weekend Edition," host Scott Simon and NPR social media expert Andy Carvin demonstrated Twitter to the lion of broadcast news. Schorr expressed some reservations about the whole social media explosion. "What we are losing is editing," he said, bemoaning a new world "full of people who are sending out what they consider to be news. It may be, it may not be, it may be made up and it doesn't matter anymore." By the end of the segment, however, Simon and Carvin welcomed Schorr to the "Twitterverse" by setting up his Twitter account. You can view a video of the segment here.

Schorr wasn't a prolific Tweeter but he did issue a few dozen of the 140-characters-or-less communiques. One of them announced that he had become a grandfather. Another said he had just composed an "All Things Considered" commentary on the computer for the first time ("Good-bye, typewriter.")

My favorite post was Schorr poking fun at President Obama for inviting a couple of guys to the White House to mend their differences over a beer. (Those guys were African American scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and the white Cambridge police officer who mistook him for a burglar when Gates forgot his key and broke into his own home.) Quipped Schorr: "Would you call a summit over beer a 'brew-haha'?"

You can read all of Schorr's Tweets here.

You can read The Times' obituary of Schorr here.

-- Elaine Woo

Photo: Daniel Schorr in 1987. Credit: Reuters / NPR

One year ago: Walter Cronkite

For two generations of Americans, one man was the epitome of broadcast news: Walter Cronkite, who died one year ago. The CBS anchor -- with his steady baritone voice -- informed, guided and reassured the nation through the tumultuous 1960s and '70s. He was widely regarded as the most trusted man in America.

Cronkite aimed for a straightforward, objective news delivery style. He rarely showed emotion, but when he did, it was a national moment. Images of him tearing up at the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and chanting "Go baby, go!" as Apollo 11 lifted off for the moon are burned into the nation's memory.

After a rare moment of commentary in which Cronkite declared the Vietnam war unwinnable, President Lyndon Johnson reportedly turned to an aided and said, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America." Many observers speculated that this was a major reason Johnson decided not to run for a second term -- and offered to negotiate with the North Vietnamese.

Cronkite was so prominent in American life, that it is from his role covering political conventions that the term "anchorman" was born -- a testament to his central role in the broadcasts.

When Cronkite famously signed off the news with "And that's the way it is," many Americans believed him.

"Walter was truly the father of television news," Morley Safer, a correspondent for CBS' "60 Minutes," said in a statement. "The trust that viewers placed in him was based on the recognition of his fairness, honesty and strict objectivity."

For more about the famed anchorman, read Walter Cronkite's obituary by The Times.

-- Michael Farr

Photo: Walter Cronkite. Credit: CBS

One year ago: Cecil Smith

Cecil-smithCecil Smith, who covered the television and entertainment scene for The Times from the 1950s to the 1980s, brought a kind of sophistication to television reviews that is rarely seen today. He died one year ago.

Smith advocated for literate, high-quality television while the medium was still young. He was called a "giant in the business" by his successor, Howard Rosenberg.

"Cecil was such a graceful writer," Rosenberg said. "You could wake him up at 2 in the morning and set him down at a typewriter and within an hour he'd turn out a gracefully written piece with all the right references and all the right phraseology that would take me a week to turn out. He was just a terrific writer and a very literate person."

Smith began his Times career as a reporter and feature writer in 1947 and became an entertainment writer in 1953. He was the entertainment editor and a drama critic in the 1960s, and in 1969 he became the paper's television critic and a columnist for The Times' syndicate.

Smith served as a captain in the Army Air Forces during World War II and as a pilot flew a B-24 Liberator in the South Pacific. After the war, he wrote radio plays and television scripts before getting involved in journalism.

For more, read Cecil Smith's obituary by The Times.

-- Michael Farr

Photo: Cecil Smith



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