John S. Carroll, consummate newspaperman and former editor of the Baltimore Sun, died yesterday morning at age 73.Carroll served as the Sun’s editor and vice president from 1991 to 2000, before moving on to take the top spot at the Los Angeles Times. While there, the paper won 13 Pulitzer Prizes in just 5 years. When Carroll left the Times in 2005, he made it clear that part of the reason for his departure was the increasing intrusion of the paper’s corporate owner, The Tribune Company, as well as increased budget cuts. His announcement drew a standing ovation from the newsroom. (Carroll did have one notable critic, however: David Simon, creator of The Wire, has accused Carroll of supporting a reporter who made up stories while at the Sun, a story which served as inspiration for the fifth–and worst!–season of his HBO show.)
In some ways, Carroll serves as a symbol of a certain kind of old-school newspaper journalism–rigorous, uncompromising, and focused on the story, not the corporate strategy. In mourning him, we mourn a whole bygone era. We were lucky to have him around town for a while.
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