posted at 21:50
Author: The Associated Press
Watergate Editor Ben Bradlee Dies at 93
The Post's Pulitzer-winning coverage of the Watergate scandal is an inextricable part of Bradlee's legacy, and one measure of his success in transforming the Post from a sleepy hometown paper into a great national one. As managing editor first and later as executive editor, Bradlee engineered the Post's reinvention, bringing in a cast of talented journalists and setting editorial standards that brought the paper new respect. When Bradlee retired from the Post newsroom in 1991, then-publisher Donald Graham said: "Thank God the person making decisions in the last 26 years showed us how to do it with verve and with guts and with zest for the big story and for the little story." In November 2013, at age 92, Bradlee stood in the White House East Room and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama, who saluted Bradlee for bringing an intensity and dedication to journalism that served as a reminder that "Our freedom as a nation rests on our freedom of the press." The low point in Bradlee's career involved a 1981 Pulitzer for the Post that was rescinded after the Post itself revealed that reporter Janet Cooke had invented her story of an 8-year-old heroin user. Long after his newspapering days were finished, even in his declining years, Bradlee would head over to the Post once a week to have lunch with "the guys" and "talk about the good old days in journalism," Quinn recounted. Bradlee's access to Kennedy continued through JFK's presidency, bringing Bradlee scoops for Newsweek, and experiences that he ultimately turned into the 1975 book, "Conversations with JFK." The release brought Bradlee much attention and cost him a valued friend, Jacqueline Kennedy, who thought the book a violation of privacy and stopped speaking to Bradlee. Bradlee had been in Newsweek's Washington bureau four years when he found the nerve in 1961 to telephone Post publisher Philip Graham to propose that The Washington Post Co. buy Newsweek.

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