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Eugene Patterson | 1923-2013

He made a mark

Eugene Patterson, a former Times Publishing Co. editor and CEO who crusaded for civil rights in American society and higher standards in America’s newsrooms, died Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013.


During his 41 years in journalism, Mr. Patterson won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing, served as president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and led the Times through an era of rapid growth and recognition by Time magazine as one of America’s 10 best newspapers.

Mr. Patterson also served in World War II in George S. Patton's Third Army and was a high-ranking editor at the Washington Post. But his enduring legacy came with an editorial he had written at the Atlanta Constitution after four little girls died in a church bombing in Birmingham, Ala. In "A Flower for the Graves," he wrote: "If our South is ever to be what we wish it to be, we will plant a flower of nobler resolve for the South now upon these four small graves that we dug."

At the Times, Mr. Patterson also helped cement an ownership structure that has ensured its independence all of these years. A tile block at the Poynter Insitute for Media Studies, which owns the Times, contains a quote from Mr. Patterson that sums up his approach to his life and career:

"Don't just make a living, make a mark."

Timeline
Oct. 15,1923

Born to a school teacher and a bank cashier, he was raised on a farm near Adel, Ga.

1943

A.B degree in journalism, University of Georgia.

1943-1947

Served in the Army, discharged as a captain, having been decorated three times including a Silver Star for gallantry.

1948-1953

Early newspaper jobs included stints in Texas and Georgia before joining United Press.

1953-1956

UP's London bureau chief.

1956

Executive editor of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.

1960-1968

Editor of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.

1964-1968

Served as vice chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission after being appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

1967

Wins Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.

1968-1971

Managing editor of the Washington Post.

1971-1972

Professor in political science at Duke University.

1972

Editor of the St. Petersburg Times and its Washington publication, Congressional Quarterly.

1977-78

President of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

1978

Becomes CEO of Times Publishing Co. upon the death of Nelson. Poynter.

1984

Named chairman of the board and CEO of Times Publishing.

1987

Oversees the launch of CQ's Governing Magazine.

1988

Retires

2013

Died Jan. 12, 2013.


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