The family of former Baltimore Sun, Los Angeles Times and Inquirer editor John S. Carroll has announced that the respected journalist died on Sunday morning in Lexington home aged 73. Carroll had been suffering for months of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a degenerative neurological disorder very similar to the mad cow disease.
With a journalistic career spanning a couple of decades, John S. Carroll was one of the most respected American journalistic figures of the past years, achieving fame after guiding the Los Angeles Times to 13 Pulitzer Prizes between 2001 and 2005.
Carroll, born in New York in 1942, was raised in North Carolina and Washington D.C., with his father being editor and publisher of the local Winston-Salem Journal and Sentinel. He graduated from Pennsylvania’s Haverford College and gained a bachelor’s degree in English. He served in the U.S. Army for two years after that and was then hired by the Baltimore Sun to cover the Vietnam War, but had his credentials removed by the U.S. military after he allegedly failed to respect a news embargo.
Carroll started his career in editing in 1972 at the Philadelphia newspaper The Inquirer, where he advanced from nightside to metropolitan editor. According to an obituary posted by the newspaper, Carroll was one the key figures behind a 1979 coverage of a possible nuclear meltdown at Harrisburg’s Three Mile Island power plant, which gained the Philadelphia newspaper a Pulitzer Prize.
John S. Carroll left The Inquirer the same year to become editor the Lexington Herald-Leader, where he stayed for 12 years before returning to the Baltimore Sun in 1991. His last journalistic job was also arguably his most successful: as main editor of the Los Angeles Times, he and managing editor Dean Baquet (who would later be promoted in the same position for the New York Times) were heralded as a turning point in the media outlet’s history.
During their time there, the Los Angeles Times managed to win 13 Pulitzer Prizes in 5 years, after it had one only eight throughout the whole of the 90s. Carroll left the Los Angeles Times in 2005 amidst displeasure related to budget cuts and disagreements regarding newsroom direction with the paper’s owner, Tribune Co., effectively ending a more than three decade career. He received a standing ovation from his colleagues after his resignation.
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