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Eugene Patterson
Eugene Patterson (Associated Press)

Eugene Patterson

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July 24, 2014
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July 24, 2014
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Please don't submit copyrighted work; original poems, songs or prayers welcomed.

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January 14, 2013
American journalism owes Gene Patterson a great debt. He was a beacon of integrity and fairness. He guided and inspired young journalists.
In the mid-1980s the late Jack Nelson, then Washington bureau chief of the LA Times, and I organized a dinner honoring Gene. Nelson had won a Pulitzer Prize while working with Gene at the Atlanta Constitution. Gene was CEO of the St. Petersburg Times, and I worked for him as publisher of Congressional Quarterly.
Jack and I wanted to express our gratitude to Gene. We decided on a small dinner at the National Press Club. But word got around and the guest list exploded. Soon the main dining room was filled to capacity. I got a call from Katherine Graham's secretary at the Washington Post. Ms. Graham's invitation must have been lost, she explained diplomatically. I'm sorry, I said, I'll send another.
It was a wonderful evening filled with tributes, including a telegram from former President Jimmy Carter. It was not a Washington crowd. People flew in from everywhere. Gene and his wife, Sue, stayed late into the evening, Gene singing "Danny Boy" in the Press Cub Lounge. Gene was special. Not every CEO of a major national newspaper can sing "Danny Boy" a cappella.
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