His guiding hand shaped countless news stories and careers. He died of Covid-19.
By Neil Genzlinger
This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.
Jack Schwartz, a lifelong newspaperman, knew early that he was best suited to the kinds of jobs that are valued in a newsroom but largely invisible to the reading public.
In the fall of 1959 he landed a job out of college as a reporter for The Long Island Press, based in Queens, and a few months later found himself covering his first big story, a hotel fire on Atlantic Beach, on the South Shore. But he never actually went to the scene; instead he pieced the story together from telephone interviews and wire service copy.
“I found that I could visualize something much better in my head by not being there,” he deadpanned 55 years later in “The Fine Print: My Life as a Deskman,” a memoir.
“Happily,” he added, “most reporters didn’t share my inclinations, but it was clear to me that my proclivities were for indoor tasks: rewrite, editing, shaping the work of people who loved to go out and scramble, bang on doors and run with the pack.”
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