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John Seigenthaler
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    (July 27, 1927-July 11, 2014)
    Born in Nashville, Tennessee
    Worked at the Nashville newspaper 'The Tennessean' as a reporter (1949-60), editor (1960-91), publisher (1973-91) and chairman (1982-91)
    Editorial director of 'USA Today' (1982-91)
    President of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (1988-89)
    Administrative assistant to Robert F. Kennedy (1960-62)
    Founded the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University (1991)
    He was hired by 'The Tennessean' because his uncle was the circulation director.
    In a successful change of venue request to move his trial for jury tampering out of Nashville, Jimmy Hoffa accused him of 'one-sided, defamatory' newspaper coverage.
    During questioning, he admitted that he personally wanted Hoffa convicted.
    Ronald Reagan's campaign team vetoed him from the presidential debate panel for being too liberal (1984).
    He was the target of a notorious Wikipedia hoax article that claimed he had been a suspect in the assassinations of both John and Robert Kennedy.
    He was married to Dolores Watson for 59 years.
    He physically restrained a suicidal man from jumping off Nashville's Shelby Street Bridge (October 5, 1954).
    While trying to protect Freedom Riders from a mob in Montgomery, Alabama, he was hit over the head with a pipe and knocked unconscious (May 20, 1961).
    Under his editorial leadership, 'The Tennessean' became one of the few Southern newspapers to champion civil rights.
    He hired the paper's first black reporters.
    He was one of the pallbearers at Robert Kennedy's funeral.
    After he went public about the hoax article, Wikipedia adopted steps to try to prevent a recurrence, including adopting guidelines on the content of biographical articles.

Credit: C. Fishel

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