|Project for Excellence in Journalism - Daily Briefing|
Philip A. Hofmann
Club President: 1970To his associates and other news executives, Philip Hofmann was “a newspaperman’s newspaperman” and a “working editor” who was never content to direct operations while sitting at a desk.
He combined talent and dedication with integrity, courage and “heart” to become an outstanding news executive, not only for 24 years in Central New York, but also on his native Long Island where he started his career with the Newhouse newspapers.
He demonstrated his news sense and executive ability when he returned to Queens College on Long Island after World War II. At Queens, Phil and other returning veterans founded an alternative student newspaper, The Ramparts, with Phil chosen as its editor. The Ramparts was established as a conservative newspaper, whose goal – and Phil’s – was telling students the truth about what was going on in politics. The students adopted as their newspaper’s credo “observe with understanding and report without prejudice,” which Phil called “a pretty good creed.”
His work with The Ramparts led to a recommendation by the college president to the late Stephen Rogers, then publisher of the former Long Island Star-Journal. (Stephen Rogers later became president of the Syracuse Newspapers and is also honored on the Syracuse Press Club’s Wall of Distinction.)
The recommendation resulted in the start of Phil’s 34-year career with Newhouse. In those first 10 years, he rose to city editor of the Star-Journal in the highly competitive metropolitan New York City area.
When Phil came to Syracuse in 1958, he was named news editor of The Post-Standard. A year later, he was promoted to managing editor of the newspaper. By 1961, he had moved to the Herald-Journal and Herald American, where he started as Sunday editor, then day editor (responsible for all news departments of the newspaper), and later promoted to managing editor, the position he held until his death at age 57 in 1982. Those who worked for Phil knew him for his leadership, high journalistic standards, fairness, and sensitivity.
During the war, Phil won the Bronze Star for heroism in battle and two Purple Hearts for wounds suffered in action. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
The newsman became a newsmaker himself one day when, while walking on West Genesee Street, he heard two women shouting: “Stop that man. He robbed us.” Phil began a chase that ended in the lobby of the Niagara Mohawk building where guards helped him grab the suspect and hold him for police.
Phil became involved with the Syracuse Press Club soon after arriving in Syracuse and was very active in the organization almost until his death. He served as president in 1970 and received several honors from the club, including for service and professional standards.
In his memory, the press club once had a scholarship, and continues to present the annual Philip A. Hofmann President’s Award for Best News Source. --Joseph
|Last Updated ( Monday, 17 November 2008 01:05 )|
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