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SPJ Mourns Loss of Goodykoontz


SPJ News Release

CONTACT:Terry Harper, Executive Director,317/927-8000,

INDIANAPOLIS-The Society of Professional Journalists lost one of its most influential and well-respected leaders on October 20, 2003 with the death of Alf Goodykoontz. Goodykoontz, retired executive editor at the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, and his friend, Edwin D. "Ned" Warinner, died in an automobile crash in Pennsylvania.

Goodykoontz served as SPJ's national president in 1977-1978 and was bestowed with the Society's highest honor, the Wells Memorial Key, in 1982. He also served as president of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation from 1984 to 1987.

"SPJ has lost a good friend and staunch supporter of the principles SPJ fosters," said Mac McKerral, SPJ's current national president. "And the news media, particularly the media in Virginia, has lost a gem. SPJ offers its condolences to the family of Mr. Goodykoontz, his friends and all his colleagues. His lifelong commitment to quality journalism will not be forgotten by them or by SPJ and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation."

A longtime newspaperman, Goodykoontz was attending Emory & Henry College when he dropped out after two years to work full time for the Radford newspaper. He was hired by the Times-Dispatch in 1952 as a reporter.

Known for his management skills and sometimes fiery temper, he worked long hours and was determined to keep anything that smacked of opinion out of the news, The Associated Press noted in its obituary on Goodykoontz.

Goodykoontz retired in 1993 as the newspaper's top news executive.

During his long career at the newspaper, Goodykoontz guided the merger of the Times-Dispatch with the Richmond News Leader, the city's evening newspaper, in 1992.

"I met Goody when I was a college student at The Ohio State University and served on SPJ's national board of directors as a student representative from 1983-85," said Greg Gilligan, retail reporter for the Times-Dispatch. "Goody looked out for aspiring journalists and nurtured them. He was tough but fair. He had high expectations. His third love, after his wife and the newspaper, was SPJ. He lived and breathed everything that SPJ stands for-truth, talent and energy. It was Goody who recruited me to come to Richmond and really gave me my journalistic boost. I have been here ever since."

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Jean Beasley Goodykoontz; a son, Charles Alf Goodykoontz III of Rochester, N.Y.; and two grandchildren.

The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. SPJ is dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, and based in Indianapolis, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed public, works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists, and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.

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