Harry Rosenfeld, Who Saw News in a ‘Third-Rate Burglary,’ Dies at 91

by Msnbctv news staff


Harry M. Rosenfeld, who injected his brash model of journalism into The Washington Publish, the place he oversaw the 2 reporters who remodeled an area crime story into the nationwide Watergate corruption scandal that toppled the Nixon administration, died on July 16 at his dwelling in upstate Slingerlands, N.Y. He was 91.

The trigger was issues of Covid-19, his daughter Amy Rosenfeld Kaufman stated.

As The Publish’s assistant managing editor for metropolitan information, Mr. Rosenfeld instantly supervised Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they mined secretive sources of their follow-the-money unraveling of the Watergate break-in, which President Richard M. Nixon’s press secretary had described as a “third-rate housebreaking try” and which led to Mr. Nixon’s resignation in 1974.

At one level Mr. Rosenfeld shielded the 2 reporters from makes an attempt to take away them from the story as soon as its broad implications turned obvious. The Publish’s editor, Benjamin C. Bradlee, had sought to switch “Woodstein,” because the duo had been nicknamed, with Publish veterans steeped in authorities and politics.

As quoted in Mr. Woodward’s and Mr. Bernstein’s e-book “All of the President’s Males” — a line delivered by Jack Warden taking part in Mr. Rosenfeld within the 1976 film model — Mr. Rosenfeld defended the reporters by asking Mr. Bradlee a rhetorical query.

“They’re hungry,” he stated. “You keep in mind while you had been hungry?”

The Publish received a Pulitzer Prize for its Watergate protection. In a single indelible second, Nixon, responding to a query that Mr. Rosenfeld had posed at a information convention that the president held with editors in 1973, declared that he had by no means profited from holding public workplace. “I’m not a criminal,” he stated.

Mr. Rosenfeld’s jobs at The Publish had been sandwiched between 18 years at The Herald Tribune in New York and, starting in 1988, an extended tenure as editor of the Hearst Company’s two newspapers in Albany, The Instances Union and the afternoon Knickerbocker Information.

An immigrant who had fled Nazi persecution in Germany as a youth, Mr. Rosenfeld joined The Herald Tribune as a delivery clerk — a summer season job earlier than faculty — and was international editor when the paper folded in 1966. He retired from The Instances Union in 1996 (the Knickerbocker Information ceased publication in 1988), however continued to contribute columns to the editorial web page.

At The Publish, the dynamics of pitching articles at story conferences had been so strong that Doris Kearns Goodwin, in her evaluate of “All of the President’s Males” in The New York Instances E-book Evaluation in 1974, wrote that past the Watergate scandal itself “there’s a second much more highly effective story” instructed within the e-book — concerning the inside workings of a newspaper because the editors “play the position of prosecutor and decide.”

“The reporters’ conferences with metropolis editor Barry Sussman; metropolitan editor Harry Rosenfeld; managing editor Howard Simons, and govt editor Benjamin Bradlee — to resolve which tales would go into print — are one of the best elements of the e-book,” she wrote.

In his e-book “From Kristallnacht to Watergate: Memoirs of a Newspaperman” (2013), Mr. Rosenfeld recalled proudly that at The Publish he was “a part of a workforce that took a mediocre newspaper and elevated it to greatness.”

Whereas The Publish’s writer, Katharine Graham, known as him “an actual hero of Watergate for us,” he left the paper in 1978 after he was reassigned to edit the Outlook and E-book World sections, which he thought-about a downgrade.

Twelve years earlier, although, he had jolted journalism in decorous Washington with a nervy New York sensibility that made some colleagues uncomfortable. Some nonetheless level to the protection of Debra (Muffin) Mattingly, a 14-year-old runaway from Arlington, Va., whose boyfriend had bashed her father to demise with a crowbar. Mr. Rosenfeld assigned six reporters to the story and pursued it because it performed out for 18 months.

“I prefer to say that when The Herald Tribune closed and he moved to The Washington Publish,” stated Peter Osnos, a former Publish reporter and editor, “he introduced brash New York savvy to Washington earlier than you can get a good bagel there.”

Hirsch (Harry) Moritz Rosenfeld was born on Aug. 12, 1929, in Berlin to Jewish mother and father from Poland, Sam Rosenfeld and Esther (Szerman) Rosenfeld. His father was a furrier. Though the household utilized to to migrate to the USA as early as 1934, their software was not permitted till March 1939, after the Nazis had ransacked Jewish-owned companies and torched the Rosenfeld household’s synagogue.

Mr. Rosenfeld went to Stuyvesant Excessive Faculty in Manhattan and earned a bachelor’s diploma in American literature from Syracuse College in 1952. He served within the Military from 1952 to 1954 and later did graduate work in historical past at Columbia College and in poetry at New York College.

Along with his daughter Amy, he’s survived by his spouse, Anne (Hahn) Rosenfeld, whom he married in 1953; two different daughters, Susan Rosenfeld Wachter and Stefanie Rosenfeld; and 7 grandchildren.

There was not a “scrivener” amongst his ancestors, he recalled in his memoir, however in his highschool yearbook he selected journalism as his dream career. In a profession that he stated had been influenced by his childhood underneath the Nazis, he “discerned a theme underpinning a lot of my journalistic labors: holding to account the accountable, the extra highly effective the higher.”



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