February 29, 2024

William Taylor II, Ex-Publisher of Boston Globe, Dies at 78

The cause was a brain tumor, which had been diagnosed two years ago, The Globe said.

Mr. Taylor was publisher from 1978 to 1997, succeeding his father, grandfather and great-grandfather. During his tenure, The Globe won nine Pulitzer Prizes.

“By any measure — Pulitzer Prizes, editorial integrity, revenues, profitability, treating employees fairly, commitment to the community — Bill Taylor was as good as any publisher of his generation,” said Benjamin Taylor, a second cousin who succeeded Mr. Taylor as chairman and publisher.

As chairman of the newspaper’s parent company, Affiliated Publications, Bill Taylor (as he preferred to be called) negotiated the $1.1 billion sale of the The Globe to The New York Times Company in September 1993. Affiliated had many potential bidders as it faced a 1996 deadline, at which time the family trusts that for generations had been the principal owners of the publicly traded company were to expire. That would have left The Globe vulnerable to an uninvited takeover. After extensive negotiations, Mr. Taylor closed the deal for what was then the highest price ever paid for a newspaper.

Somewhat conservative, Mr. Taylor was concerned in the years just before he became publisher that the paper’s editorial stance on school busing for integration was too proactive, especially in a city that was roiled by the issue. The paper’s coverage of race relations won the 1975 Pulitzer for meritorious public service.

Mr. Taylor was proud of his role in bringing racial and gender diversity to the newsroom. “I think it made for a better newspaper and gave opportunities to groups that hadn’t had access to good jobs and management,” he said in an interview last year.

William Osgood Taylor II was born on July 19, 1932, to William Taylor and Mary Hammond Taylor. He attended the Dexter School in Brookline, Mass., and St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H. After graduating from Harvard in 1954, he spent two years in the Army as a sergeant in West Germany.

In 1959 he married Sally Piper Coxe, who had been a roommate of his sister at Radcliffe College. Besides his wife, he is survived by three sons, William, Edmund and Augustus; four siblings from his father’s second marriage, Margaret Kane, Wendy Patriquin, Thomas Taylor and James Taylor; and four grandchildren.

Mr. Taylor was reluctant to go into the newspaper business. But at the urging of his father he joined The Globe, working in classified advertising and the promotion department and as a reporter before moving into management.

“Bill will long be remembered for his forward-looking leadership that positioned The Globe as a beacon of integrity in the world of journalism,” Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of The Times, said in a statement on Monday. “The legacy he leaves behind will continue to serve The Globe long into the future.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=3900030ec75458ba9da080b0e19f328e

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