Skip to comments.Ex-News editor was mentor to young, inspiration to many - dies from apparent heart attack
Posted on 07/22/2002 6:27:53 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP
Ex-News editor was mentor to young, inspiration to many
Lawrence E. Young, the energetic editor who mentored and inspired a legion of journalists during a 20-year newspaper career in Fort Worth, Dallas, Arlington and Riverside, Calif., died Saturday of an apparent heart attack.
The 47-year-old's death came on the first anniversary of a published news article announcing his promotion to managing editor of The Press-Enterprise in Riverside.
At 6:16 p.m. Saturday a Riverside motorist reported a black Jeep stopped on the side of the road with its doors locked and its emergency flashers on. Rescue workers attempted to revive Mr. Young, who was behind the wheel. He was transported to Riverside Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Services are pending for Mr. Young, who was a former editor at The Dallas Morning News and the Arlington Morning News.
News of Mr. Young's death shocked and saddened friends and co-workers, past and present. In Riverside, staff members placed flowers on his desk.
"Lawrence was a very special person, a treasure," said Robert W. Mong Jr., president and editor of The Dallas Morning News. "He was brimming with energy and confidence and conveyed that to all he worked with."
The News is owned by Belo, which also owns the Riverside newspaper.
"Few journalists I've worked with cared as much about developing talent as Lawrence did," Mr. Mong said. "It was a mission. He also worked tirelessly in the community helping young people to develop writing skills. The kids who knew him loved him."
Phil Pitchford, a Press-Enterprise business writer, said Mr. Young's staff was having a difficult time accepting the news.
"He recharged people's batteries on a regular basis," he said.
Although Mr. Young had been editing for years, his Rolodex was fat with more than two decades of news contacts.
Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price said Mr. Young won credibility and respect from those he covered and the community he served.
"There wasn't a better human being on this earth," Mr. Price said. "He was a brother who understood why he was a journalist. He understood who he was and never, never retreated from that position."
Managers, too, appreciated him.
"He was one of the best motivators I ever met," said Gary Jacobson, Sunday editor of The News. "His enthusiasm was contagious, and he truly cared for the people who worked for him."
Mr. Jacobson was publisher and editor of the Arlington Morning News when Mr. Young was named managing editor and later its executive editor.
"I loved his energy," Mr. Jacobson said. "I loved his toughness. And I loved his compassion."
Judith Lynn Howard worked with Mr. Young at The News and in Arlington.
"Lawrence was my dear friend and my big brother," Ms. Howard said. "He guided me and countless others in our careers. He was a mentor and an advocate you always could count on.
"He was a visionary leader, and his drive and passion for journalism were felt throughout Dallas and around the country," she said. "He loved journalism, and his commitment to the craft will resonate long after his death.
"So many of us will miss him. We've lost a great voice," Ms. Howard said.
Todd Wills, a suburban sports writer for The News, was sports editor at the Arlington Morning News when Mr. Young was there.
"I know it's kind of corny, when people say they have a leader they would run through a wall for, but he was one of those kinds of people," Mr. Wills said.
Mr. Young was born in Akron, Ohio, where he graduated from high school.
He served in the Air Force and became a sergeant at Castle Air Force Base in Merced, Calif., where he began his higher education.
He received an associate's degree in photojournalism from Pasadena City College in Pasadena, Calif., and a bachelor's degree in journalism from California State University in Northridge. He did graduate studies at the University of Arizona. He was a graduate of the advanced executive program at Northwestern University and a McCormick Fellow in 1999.
After working on his college newspaper, doing a series of internships and writing for a magazine in Northridge, Calif., Mr. Young began his newspaper career with the Arlington Citizen-Journal in May 1982. That August he joined the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where he was a city hall reporter.
In January 1987, Mr. Young became a political reporter for The Dallas Morning News, a position he held until November 1991, when he began a three-year stint as mid-cities editor for the Metropolitan desk.
In November 1994, he was named government/political editor, a position he held until December 1995, when he became assistant national editor.
In April 1996, he was named managing editor of the Arlington Morning News. He was promoted to executive editor in May 2000. Last August he started his new role as managing editor of The Press-Enterprise .
Mr. Young was a champion for diversity, said Esther Wu, a columnist for The News and a member of the Texas Chapter of the Asian-American Journalists Association.
"He worked hard for representation for all minority groups, not just African-Americans," she said.
Ms. Wu recalled him pushing for the local chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists to award a scholarship to an Asian-American student because she was deserving.
Mr. Young was on the board of the National Association of Minority Media Executives, the Newspaper Association of America diversity board, the Dallas/Fort Worth Association of Black Communicators and the Student Press Law Center Board. He was a former member of the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors Board.
He won numerous awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award for Education from the Dallas/Fort Worth Association of Black Communicators and three Katie Awards from the Dallas Press Club.
He is survived by his parents, Charles and Ruth Young of Moreno Valley, Calif.; and two sisters, Vickie Weatherspoon of Moreno Valley, Calif., and Carolyn Young of Pasadena.
I'll post the P-E.com article as a supplement to this post.
INLAND: The 47-year-old veteran journalist is called a "first-class professional."
Lawrence Young, The Press-Enterprise's managing editor, matched his tenacious drive to succeed with his work to strengthen the bonds between newspapers and the communities they cover. Mr. Young died Saturday of an apparent heart attack. He was 47.
His death came on the one-year anniversary of a news story announcing his appointment at the newspaper. Mr. Young, whose tenure began August 2001, left a legacy that spans the nation for mentoring journalists during a 20-year career at several newspapers, including The Dallas Morning News and the Arlington Morning News in Texas.
Jack Clarke, a Riverside attorney and community activist, remembered meeting with Mr. Young for long conversations about the area.
"He was trying to drink in as much information as he could, from as many different sources as he could," said Clarke, who called Young "compassionate and deeply insightful. A first-class professional."
Mr. Young urged his staff to seek answers, not excuses, all the while stressing fairness in reporting, a viewpoint stretching into his belief that a newsroom's makeup should be equivalent to society's. In conversations, the energetic Mr. Young made it clear he loved the art of journalism: the story that sings to a reader or the photograph that spurs emotion.
And one day, he told some people close to him, he planned to own and publish his own newspaper.
"Lawrence was a remarkable man and a remarkable journalist. With his dynamic and charismatic personality, Lawrence was a catalyst for our newsroom," said Maria De Varenne, executive editor and vice president/news at The Press-Enterprise. "Our hearts go out to his family as we all try to cope with the tragic news."
Around 6 p.m. Saturday, Mr. Young had called his father on a mobile phone, telling him he wasn't feeling well and needed help. The line then went dead.
Shortly afterward, a motorist noticed a black Jeep with its emergency flashers on stopped along the side of Central Avenue at Victoria Avenue in Riverside. The car doors were locked. Mr. Young was slumped over the wheel. The motorist knocked on the window, but when Mr. Young did not respond, the man dialed 911 at 6:16 p.m.
Emergency workers attempted to revive Mr. Young. He was taken to Riverside Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead around 7 p.m.
Services are pending. He is survived by his parents, Charles and Ruth Young of Moreno Valley, and two sisters, Vickie Weatherspoon of Moreno Valley and Carolyn Young of Pasadena.
News of Mr. Young's death rippled through journalism circles from Washington D.C. to California.
In The Press-Enterprise's Riverside building, staff members turned up throughout the day, some just wanting to sit for a few minutes in his office.
Known for a booming laugh that came freely from his barrel chest, Mr. Young took every free moment to talk with his staff. He could tell when a person was depressed and called the staffer into his office for a chat.
"He had an ability to connect on all levels in a masterful and sincere way," said Scott Farwell, a reporter with The Press-Enterprise. "He was able to make these connections with assignment editors and senior management just as easily as he did with . . . the dry cleaner or the softball team."
Robert W. Mong Jr., president and editor of The Dallas Morning News, said Mr. Young yearned to grow at each step of his career there. His success working with high school and college students in journalism sessions led him to believe he would make a good editor. Mong recalled how Mr. Young used vacation time to attend editing and management conferences.
He was also known for doing what he thought was right, no matter the ramifications.
"You have people in the newsroom who don't discuss different ideas because they don't want to make waves -- they want to hold onto their jobs," said Cheryl Smith, a talk show host at KKDA-AM. "Lawrence made waves. He was not afraid to speak up."
Mr. Young was born in Akron, Ohio, where he graduated from high school. He joined the Air Force, becoming a sergeant and military policeman in the Air Force at Castle Air Force Base in Merced, Calif. He received an associate's degree in photo journalism from Pasadena City College in Pasadena and a bachelor's degree in journalism from Cal State Northridge. He did graduate studies at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
Mr. Young joined the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1982 and moved to the Dallas Morning News five years later. In 1996 he was named managing editor of the Arlington Morning News, and was promoted to executive editor in May 2000.
"He never let me down in 47 years," said his father, Charles. "I used to brag so much my friends would get mad at me."
When not working, Mr. Young enjoyed reading books, devouring anything on history or accounts by black authors. He adored jazz, especially Miles Davis, and was a fan of boxing and basketball.
Dori J. Maynard, daughter of the late Robert Maynard, who in 1983 became the first black in the country to own and run a metro daily newspaper, the Oakland Tribune, said her father was an inspiration to Mr. Young.
"He took the lessons of my father's life to heart, that ownership is possible," she said. And if he said it would, "it would happen. Some people dream, but Lawrence makes things happen."
Staff writers Mark Henry and Tina Bennett contributed to this report.
Reach George Watson at (909) 368-9457 or email@example.com
Another sad story of a caring person probably killed by his profession.
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That condition is hypertension, which is easily detected and generally responsive to anti-hypertenisive medication and controlling stress....