retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• Ben Bradlee, the legendary Washington Post executive editor who led the paper during its coverage of the Watergate scandal that resulted in the resignation of President Richard Nixon under threat of impeachment, passed away yesterday at age 93.

Once referred to as the "last of the lion-king newspaper editors," Bradlee, with the support of owner Katharine Graham, turned the Post from a largely provincial newspaper into a world-class journalistic enterprise that was aggressive, innovative and even swashbuckling … which is to say, molded in Bradlee's personal and professional style.

In its obituary this morning, the New York Times writes that in his memoir, Bradlee said his journalistic goals were simple: “Put out the best, most honest newspaper you can today, and put out a better one the next day.”
KC's View:
I once interviewed for a job at the Washington Post. (I didn't get it. Regrets, I have just a few … but one would be that I was not good enough a reporter to land a job there. But to be honest, they were right not to hire me. I wasn't good enough.) I wasn't interviewed by Bradlee, but by one of the business editors … but I'll never forget walking into that newsroom, which looked exactly like it did in All The President's Men, and strolling by the glass-walled office where Bradlee sat, chatting with some other editors. I haven't had a lot of religious experiences in my life, but that was one of them … for someone in my business, with my interests, it was one of those moments when you could just feel the palpable force of personality.

Two of the best books I've ever read were by Bradlee and Graham - his memoir is called "A Good Life: Newspapering & Other Adventures," and hers is called "Personal History." They have much in common, especially wonderful, insightful and evocative writing. I recommend them heartily, and will probably use this news as motivation to go back and read them again.

And if you share my passion for such things, I urge you to read the Washington Post obit for Bradlee this morning … it is a remarkable piece about a remarkable man who lived a remarkable life. You can read it here.