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In Memoriam

Mama Ayesha’s Hosts Party to Honor Helen Thomas and Serves ‘Helen’s Salad’

On Sunday afternoon Mama Ayesha’s Calvert café, a decades-old haunt of the late UPI White House reporter Helen Thomas, held a memorial in her honor. There were friends, family and a handful of her closest journalist colleagues. This is not the big, public memorial service that’s in the works, which is scheduled for Oct. 5 at the National Press Club, but we’re told it was a gathering of people Thomas would have wanted to party with at least one more time. Read more

NPR Executive Producer Dies of Cancer

NPR’s Teshima Walker, Executive Producer of “Tell Me More,” died this morning after battling colon cancer for two years. She was 44. According to an announcement from NPR earlier today, she is survived by her husband, writer Jimi Izrael, her parents, William and Vonceal Walker and her sister, Eureva Walker.

Some history

Since 2011, Walker was the executive producer for NPR’s midday news program “Tell Me More,” hosted by Michel Martin. Walker was part of the public radio family for more than a decade. She first joined the afternoon newsmagazine “All Things Considered” as a journalism fellow in 2000. Later she spent three years as a producer for “The Tavis Smiley Show,” and then worked for “News and Notes.” In 2007, Walker became senior supervising producer of “Tell Me More,” where she remained for the next six years in a variety of capacities. A Chicago native, Walker first came to NPR by way of WBEZ, where she was a senior producer for morning newsmagazine “Eight Forty-Eight.”

Thoughts from her coworkers

As explained in the release, Walker’s NPR colleagues knew her as a “Southside Chicago girl to the core,” with an infectious laugh, and as someone who put herself aside for everyone.

Ellen McDonnell, exec. editor for NPR News Programming: “Teshima was a terrific journalist who worked tirelessly to bring new and diverse voices to air. She was a phenomenal advocate for the show, the staff and the audience. Tell Me More – and everyone who was lucky enough to work with Teshima – thrived under her leadership.” 

Michelle Martin: “Teshima made us all want to dig a little deeper, think harder, and be better. She was everything you could want in a manager and friend: kind and open-hearted when you needed her to be, and tough, but fair, when you needed her to be. While I already miss her amazing laugh and her incredible off-key rendition of the ‘Happy Birthday’ song, I know I am better for having heard them both. We are all very grateful for the time we had with her, and thank her husband, parents and sister for sharing these precious last days with us.” Read more

Baltimore Sun Remembers Jack Germond

Longtime newspaperman Jack Germond died this morning at 4 a.m. of chronic pulmonary disease. He was 85.

The Baltimore Sun, where Germond worked for about two decades, ran his obit with an accompanying video this morning. Noteworthy details: There will be no funeral service; his ashes will be strewn in the Shenandoah River.


“I started covering politics in the 1980 presidential campaign for Newsday and Jack was the sage when it came to politics. He was the guy you went to when you were a junior reporter,” said Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief for USA Today. “He was very friendly to junior reporters. We had dinners and he was very generous with the stuff that he knew,” said Ms. Page, who described Mr. Germond as a “funny, no-nonsense gruff guy.” “I started covering politics in the 1980 presidential campaign for Newsday and Jack was the sage when it came to politics. He was the guy you went to when you were a junior reporter,” said Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief for USA Today.

Friends Prepare for Ex-Reporter’s Funeral

This morning CQ Roll Call has the details on Chris Battle‘s funeral.

The former Capitol Hill aide and reporter died last week after a lengthy fight against kidney cancer. He previously worked for the Arkansas Democrat Gazette when former Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.) snagged him to come to Washington and handle his communications.

See the service and donation details here.

Friends recently shared the news of Battle’s death.

Chris battle, 45, passed Thursday morning after a long and courageous fight against kidney cancer. Chris was a well-loved fixture among Washington journalists — as a sr Hill and Admin aide (rep Asa Hutchison, DEA, DHS), a reporter and editorial page editor (ark Dem Gazette) and a communications strategist (adfero). He and his wife Dena Battle fought his cancer with characteristic wit and everything else they could. In addition to dena, he is survived by his two young daughters, his parents and siblings, and more friends than can be counted. Washington lost a good man this week, but Heaven gained one.

White House Releases Statement on Helen Thomas

The White House press office released a statement from the President on the death of longtime White House reporter Helen Thomas. News of her death came Saturday. Reports indicate she had a long illness. She was 92.

“Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Helen Thomas. Helen was a true pioneer, opening doors and breaking down barriers for generations of women in journalism. She covered every White House since President Kennedy’s, and during that time she never failed to keep presidents – myself included – on their toes. What made Helen the “Dean of the White House Press Corps” was not just the length of her tenure, but her fierce belief that our democracy works best when we ask tough questions and hold our leaders to account. Our thoughts are with Helen’s family, her friends, and the colleagues who respected her so deeply.”

David Morrison: ‘Journo, Junkie, Hero, Pal’

National Security reporter David Morrison lost his job as a columnist for CQ in April. Then he died in his sleep in his Washington apartment on June 5. At 59. “My guess is was just plumb worn out,” wrote Spytalk‘s Jeff Stein in a lengthy memorial column for AND Magazine.

His life was rather dramatic. Writes Stein, “At the time, Morrison was looking for freelance work, the last chapter of a career that once produced some of the smartest, elegantly wrought reporting on national security issues around, even while he was reeling from heroin.”

Morrison left no note. His death was not considered or thought to be a suicide.

The reporter worked at National Journal in the 80s. He graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism. The story that put him on the map, writes Stein, was that of his heroin addiction that ran on  the cover of the Washington City Paper in 1995. The byline reads: “By Anonymous.” NYT David Carr, formerly of WCP, had edited his work. It was Jack Shafer, now at Reuters, who edited his cover story.

In the story, some of his fellow journalists described him as “a talented and lovely soul” and “wise, funny, and grumpy.” Morrison’s brother said he’d been clean from drugs for 19 years and was a recovering member of Narcotics Anonymous.

In Memoriam: Michael Hastings

Michael Hastings, a writer for Buzzfeed and Rollling Stone best known for the career-ending profile of Gen. Stanely McChrystal, was killed yesterday in a car crash in Los Angeles.

News of Hasting’s death first came Tuesday afternoon from BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith, who posted a note on the site that said,”We are shocked and devastated by the news that Michael Hastings is gone.”

“Michael was a great, fearless journalist with an incredible instinct for the story, and a gift for finding ways to make his readers care about anything he covered from wars to politicians,” Smith said in his note. “He wrote stories that would otherwise have gone unwritten, and without him there are great stories that will go untold.”

Rolling Stone followed with an obituary a few minutes later.

Hastings’ hallmark as reporter was his refusal to cozy up to power. While other embedded reporters were charmed by McChrystal’s bad-boy bravado and might have excused his insubordination as a joke, Hastings was determined to expose the recklessness of a man leading what Hastings believed to be a reckless war.

Buzzfeed has a full story about Hastings here, there are tributes from the Buzzfeed staff here and finally, a collection of remembrances from other journalists, here.

Read on for a selection:

Read more

Breitbart Embassy to Hold Memorial for Stealth Operative Chip Gerdes

The Breitbart Embassy on Capitol Hill will host a memorial gathering for Chip Gerdes, a behind-the-scenes conservative operative, who died last week of a sudden heart attack. He was 42.

Rare Editor Says There’s a Missing Obit

“Of all the beautiful tributes out there, the best obit of Thatcher is missing — the one that would have been written by my late friend and mentor Tony Blankley, my predecessor as TWT Editorial Page Editor,” writes Brett Decker, Editor-in-Chief of Rare, the new conservative media outlet, to FishbowlDC on the death of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. “No doubt those two are in heaven together talking politics now. Tony was born in London and became an American patriot, serving in the Reagan White House and in Congress for Speaker Gingrich. Tony’s dad was Winston Churchill’s accountant, and Tony never quite shook that subtle lingering English accent. They don’t make ‘em like Maggie or Tony anymore — tough and principled political fighters who are also classy.” Tony Blankley died of cancer in January of 2012.

Human Events Shuts Down Print Edition

There was a large number of layoffs at Human Events, as announced at an internal staff meeting this morning, FishbowlDC has learned. But it’s actually much bigger than that.

The conservative publication is shutting down its print edition entirely*. Eagle Publishing, which owns Human Events, released the following statement:

“Washington, DC (February 27, 2013) – Eagle Publishing, Inc. announced today it
has made the difficult decision to cease publishing Human Events, the conservative
weekly newspaper. The issue dated February 18 is the final issue.

“This was a difficult decision, and one we did not make lightly,” said publisher Joe
Guerriero. “As everyone knows, the newspaper business is a very tough business.
Contrast that with the explosive growth of digital media, which we’ve seen with our
own websites, and

“Eagle Publishing has willingly subsidized Human Events for quite some time now,
choosing to do so to serve the cause of conservatism,” he added. “But the realities of
the 24-hour news cycle and the brutal economics of a weekly print publication have
become insurmountable, as they have for so many other now-extinct print publications
such as U.S. News &World Report and Newsweek.

“Human Events has been a powerful voice in conservative politics and the
conservative movement for nearly 70 years, propelled by a dedication to limited
government, strong national defense, private enterprise and individual liberty,”
continued Guerriero. “While the print publication will no longer exist, we are
confident Human Events’ mission to defend and promote conservatism will continue
through our popular websites, and, our influential
political newsletters, such as RedState Morning Briefing, Daily Events, and Guns &
Patriots, and the blockbuster political books published by Eagle’s book-publishing
division, Regnery Publishing.”

*This post has been updated to reflect the fact that it is specifically the print edition of Human Events that will discontinue.