Deborah Howell, one of the first women to become the top editor of a large American newspaper, died Friday in New Zealand, where she was struck by a car while on foot. She was 68 years old and lived in Washington.
Over three decades in Minnesota and in Washington, Ms. Howell repeatedly ascended professional heights that had been the near-exclusive province of men, earning accolades for her toughness, curiosity and enthusiasm. At each stop, she expanded coverage of social issues like AIDS and women in the workplace.
At age 34, she became city editor of The Minneapolis Star, which later became The Star Tribune after a merger. Four years later she jumped to a rival paper, The St. Paul Pioneer Press, where she served as managing editor and then executive editor. At The Pioneer Press, she oversaw two projects that led the paper to win the first Pulitzer Prize in the paper’s history, in 1986 and 1988.
Ms. Howell left The Pioneer Press in 1990 to become the chief of the Washington bureau for the Newhouse newspaper chain, a post she held for 15 years. Her staff at Newhouse News Service also won a Pulitzer while she was there.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
From the New York Times: