John S. Carroll, Editor of 3 Pulitzer Prize-winning Newspapers, Dies at 73

John Carroll is shown in 2005 in his office at the Los Angeles Times, where he was editor for five years. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times, MCT)
John Carroll is shown in 2005 in his office at the Los Angeles Times, where he was editor for five years. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times, MCT)

John S. Carroll, who guided the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun and Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky to Pulitzer prizes and who was considered one of the most distinguished and inspiring newspaper editors of his time, died June 14 at his home in Lexington, Ky. He was 73.

The cause was Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rapidly progressing neurological disorder that was detected in January, said his wife, Lee Carroll.

During a four-decade career, Mr. Carroll became known as a quietly forceful leader who instilled a sense of journalistic ambition and civic purpose in the papers he edited — even amid increasing competition from the Internet and diminishing resources.

In the 1980s, when Mr. Carroll was editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader, his paper challenged the recruiting practices of the powerful University of Kentucky basketball program. Later in Baltimore, he sent reporters to Africa to expose modern-day practices of slavery in Sudan. In Los Angeles, he led his paper to 13 Pulitzer Prizes in five years, only to resign in protest in 2005 against staff cutbacks and other pressures imposed by the paper’s corporate parent.

Before he turned to editing, Mr. Carroll was a war correspondent in Vietnam and covered the Middle East and White House as a reporter with the Sun. In Vietnam, he worked alongside Eugene L. Roberts Jr., then of the New York Times. After Roberts became executive editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1972, he hired Mr. Carroll as an editor.

In Philadelphia, Mr. Carroll directed investigations that won the Pulitzer Prize in consecutive years, including a 1977 series on police brutality written by Bill Marimow and Jonathan Neumann.

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SOURCE: Matt Schudel
The Washington Post

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