October 28, 2020

Harold Evans Dies at 92; Crusading Newspaperman With a Second Act

During this time he wrote “The American Century” (1998, with Gail Buckland and Kevin Baker), a lavishly illustrated best seller that critics called an ambitious and innovative approach to history.

Other books followed: “War Stories: Reporting in the Time of Conflict From the Crimea to Iraq” (2003), “They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine, Two Centuries of Innovators” (2004, with Gail Buckland and David Lefer), his best-selling memoir “My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times” (2009) and “Do I Make Myself Clear? Why Writing Well Matters” (2018).

In 2011, he was named editor at large of the Reuters news agency.

For all Mr. Evans’s forays into magazine editing, book publishing and writing, he never lost his passion for newspapers. “How delicious the smell of the still warm newsprint!” he wrote in “My Paper Chase.” And he remained a muckraker at heart. “A newspaper is an argument on the way to a deadline,” he declared. “If there isn’t any argument, there’s not much of a newspaper.”

Yet he feared for the future of newspapers and what impact their decline might have on the democratic institutions that he so extolled in his book “The American Century.”

“I think a certain commitment to the public good has vanished in the race for circulation,” he told NPR in 2009. “I think that is accentuated when you get newspapers taken over, as you have across America, by people who either borrow extensively to buy the paper, or never had any interest in what real journalism is about in the first place.

“The kind of investigative journalism, which I think is the absolute essence, is in danger and, in fact, in many places has vanished,” he added. “We have to have this searchlight to know what the hell is going on. So when newspapers or TV neglect reporting, so you get chunks of opinion without any factual basis whatsoever, we’re all going to suffer for it.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/24/business/media/sir-harold-evans-dead.html

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