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James Barrett Reston

Reston, James Barrett (Scotty Reston), 1909–95, American journalist, b. Clydebank, Scotland. His family emigrated to the United States in 1920. After working briefly for the Springfield (Ohio) Daily News, he joined the Associated Press in 1934. He moved to the London bureau of the New York Times in 1939, settling in New York in 1940, but taking a leave to establish a U.S. Office of War Information in London in 1942. Rejoining the Times, Reston was assigned to Washington, D.C., as national correspondent (1945), then diplomatic correspondent (1948) and bureau chief and columnist (1953).

Reston subsequently was associate editor of the New York Times (1964–68), executive editor (1968–69), and vice president (1969–74). He wrote a nationally syndicated column from 1974 until 1987, when he became a senior columnist, and retired two years later. Long the most powerful and influential journalist at the nation's most powerful and influential newspaper, Reston interviewed most of the world's leaders and wrote cogently about the leading events and issues of his time. He earned a journalistic reputation for insight, fair-mindedness, balance, humaneness, and wit, twice winning the Pulitzer Prize (1945, 1957) for national reporting. His books include Prelude to Victory (1942), The Artillery of the Press (1967), and Sketches in the Sand (1967).

See his memoirs, Deadline (1991); biography by J. F. Stacks (2002).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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