David Newhouse, who, as editor of The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, led to a Pulitzer Prize for breaking the story that led to the conviction of Penn State assistant soccer coach Jerry Sandusky for sexually abusing boys and being fired led by Joe Paterno, the school’s once beloved head football coach, died Wednesday in a hospital in Hanover, NH. He was 65 years old.
The cause was complications from the leukemia, said his brother Mark.
Mr. Newhouse, a member of the powerful publishing family whose best-known media company is the Condé Nast division, ran a modest outpost in central Pennsylvania in the Newhouse Empire.
However, his small town newspaper gained national attention in March 2011 when a staff member, Sara Ganim, reported that a large jury was investigating Mr. Sandusky on allegations that he had “improperly assaulted a teenager.” The scandal heightened in November when Mr Sandusky was charged with sexually abusing eight boys over a period of 15 years.
This first article and nine others were cited by the Pulitzer Board of Directors in 2012 for “courageously exposing and appropriately treating the explosive sex scandal in Penn State.”
Ms. Ganim said that Mr. Newhouse encouraged her from the start to pursue the story further, even when she reported on the police strike in Harrisburg, about 90 minutes from Penn State campus.
“He was very good,” she said, “when he said,” OK, everyone from all the news organizations will be in the press conference, but what you should do is think about how you can move the story forward. “
Mr. Sandusky was eventually convicted of assaulting 10 boys on 45 counts. Mr Paterno, who was accused of doing too little to prevent Mr Sandusky from hunting boys, has been fired. And Penn State’s image and reputation was badly tarnished.
Cate Barron, who succeeded Mr. Newhouse as editor in 2012, said he had reminded the reporting team to continue to focus on Mr. Sandusky’s victims, the men who were raped as boys.
“It was a criminal story about victims,” she said. “He was the beacon for that.”
During his 11 years with The Patriot-News, David Newhouse was drawn to journalism, “which gave voice to the voiceless,” said Ms. Barron, such as articles by investigative reporter Peter Shellem that resulted in the release of five wrongly convicted prisoners.
“To tell this whole truth to power, he believed it in his soul,” she said.
In November 2011, Mr. Newhouse wrote a column for his newspaper criticizing the New York Times for handling an article about one of Mr. Sandusky’s victims. In order to protect his identity, The Times referred to the person as Victim 1, as he was on the indictment. But Mr Newhouse said the article “was so detailed that, although they didn’t name him, Googling certain information on the profile would bring up the young man’s name in seconds.”
The Times editors defended the article, but Arthur S. Brisbane, the Times public editor at the time, disagreed. Although he acknowledged that certain details about victim 1 gave readers “a deeper understanding of the boy”, he asked, “Was that reason enough to involve them and compromise his privacy? I don’t think so.”
About a month after receiving the Pulitzer, Mr. Newhouse left The Patriot-News to become editor of the family-owned Advance Local and helped develop websites as the family’s newspapers became digital businesses.
David Anthony Newhouse was born on September 29, 1955 in Manhattan and grew up in Great Neck, Long Island and New Orleans. His father, Norman, was the editor of the Queens-based Long Island Press and later oversaw The Times-Picayune in New Orleans and other southern newspapers belonging to his family. Norman was a brother of Samuel I Newhouse, who started the family in publishing. David’s mother Alice (Gross) Newhouse was a housewife.
“We all adored our father,” said Mark Newhouse, executive vice president of newspapers at Advance Publications, in a telephone interview with his family. “We grew up thinking that it was best to be a newspaper man.”
However, David Newhouse originally took a different route. He graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in theater in 1977 and earned a master’s degree in film production from Boston University in 1980 and a second master’s degree in education from Tufts University three years later
He owned a bookstore in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a children’s clothing store in Arlington, Massachusetts. He also taught English at Newton North High School in Newton, Massachusetts before asking his family to find him a job with one of his newspapers.
He joined The Times of Trenton, New Jersey, in 1993 as a city reporter and rose to become business editor and assistant editor-in-chief before becoming editor-in-chief of The Patriot-News in 2001. In 2010 he was promoted to editor.
He was a strong voice in the editorial office of the newspaper; After Mr Sandusky was charged, Mr Newhouse strongly advocated the resignation of Mr Paterno and Graham Spanier, President of Penn State, for doing too little to stop Mr Sandusky. The editorial took up the entire front page.
Penn State fired both men on November 9, 2011, the day after the editorial was published.
Mr. Sandusky is serving a sentence of 30 to 60 years. Mr. Paterno died in 2012.
In addition to his brother Mark, Mr. Newhouse survived his wife Alice Stewart. his daughters Lily, Hope, Magdalena and Macrina Newhouse; two other brothers, Peter and Jonathan; a sister, Robyn Newhouse; and three grandchildren. His marriage to Katharine Call ended in divorce.