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Friday, October 2, 2009
Obituaries

Remembering SPJ members who have died:

ROBERT NOVAK

Robert Novak, longtime columnist and former co-host of CNN’s “Crossfire,” died Aug. 18 at age 78. Novak was an SPJ member and strong supporter of the organization. He presented the session “Watching the Watchdogs: Ethical Implications of the Entangled Roles of Journalists in the Scooter Libby Case” at the 2007 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference in Washington, D.C. Joined by former Time Editor-in-Chief Norman Pearlstine, Novak discussed important ethical questions journalists face when they are central players in a criminal prosecution and scandal. Novak had first-hand experience with those matters as he was subpoenaed by the grand jury for the classified information he published in his column “Mission to Niger,” disclosing Valerie Plame Wilson’s CIA agent status.

Novak became a visible household name when he began working for CNN at its conception in 1980. He was a regular commentator for CNN for 25 years, including his work on “Crossfire.” From 1963 to 1993, he and Rowland Evans wrote the nationally syndicated column “Inside Report” six days a week. When Evans retired in 1993, Novak continued the column three times a week until a brain tumor led him to retire in August 2008. Novak was an SPJ member from 1950 to 2001 and is a member of the D.C. Pro chapter Hall of Fame.

JOHN E. MOLLWITZ

A 35-year SPJ member, John E. Mollwitz passed away Aug. 26 at age 66. Mollwitz received his master’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison two years after beginning his journalism career as a reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. He spent 32 years at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. According to his obituary, he “was a copy editor of the Journal’s national and local news desks and assisted with development of the paper’s suburban news sections and the start of its online operation.” Mollwitz joined SPJ in 1974 and was at one time president of the Milwaukee Pro chapter.

DEAN H. SCHOELKOPF

Dean H. Schoelkopf died Aug. 4 at age 77. An SPJ member since 1952, Schoelkopf was the founding editor of what is now McClatchy-Tribune News Service. He began the company, then known as KNT News Service, in 1972, and the company became one of the leading news services in the nation. American Society of News Editors Executive Director Scott Bosley said, “Before the Internet, and before strategic shifts in the journalism landscape made it popular, Dean was into sharing news before sharing was cool. His dedication to quality editing and understanding of emerging electronic delivery systems nurtured a nascent idea into a business model.” Schoelkopf also worked for Encyclopedia Britannica; worked as a White House correspondent; and edited for the Chicago Daily News and the Minneapolis Tribune.

ROBIN MARSHALL GLASSMAN

Robin Marshall Glassman passed away Aug. 18. She was 83. Glassman worked for more than 50 years in the journalism industry as a newspaper reporter; managing editor; newspaper writing coach; news service correspondent; and film, TV and magazine writer. Her work appeared on network TV and in leading publications such as Atlantic Monthly and Harpers. Glassman also founded the journalism department at Southern Connecticut State University, where she was professor emeritus and had taught classes from 1968 to 1995.

In 1989, Glassman was honored with SPJ’s national Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award. The SPJ Connecticut Pro chapter gave her its Lifetime Achievement Award when she retired. She was also honored as a member of the Connecticut Journalism Hall of Fame.

CRYSTAL REID AUSTIN

A young, enthusiastic and talented journalist with a burgeoning career died July 17 at age 29. Crystal Reid Austin was a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where she was editor-in-chief of the school paper, the Gateway, and the 2005-06 president of the school’s SPJ chapter. After Reid Austin graduated in 2006 from UNO’s School of Communication, she accepted a business reporting position at the Bismarck (N.D.) Tribune. A versatile journalist and an active member of the Bismarck community, Reid Austin founded Capitol Shakespeare and served as an active member of the Bismarck-Mandan Young Professionals Network. A memorial service was held in July, and a memorial scholarship benefit show is being planned for October.

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