Journalist And Editor Deborah Howell Dead At 68 After Accident

Former Washington Post ombudsman and seminal journalist Deborah Howell was killed after being struck by a car in New Zealand, according to a report in the Minneapolis-St.Paul Star Tribune. She was 68.

Howell’s storied journalism career included stints as managing editor at the Minneapolis Star in the 1970s and the St. Paul Pioneer Press in the 1980s, where the paper won two Pulitzer Prizes. She also worked as the Washington Post’s ombudsman from 2005 to 2008.

Press critic Jeff Jarvis as a touching personal account of his time with Howell that can be read here. “Deborah Howell was unafraid to learn in public. That, I think, is her best lesson for us all,” he writes.

The Post, meanwhile, celebrates Howell as “one of the first women to lead a major U.S. newspaper” and remembered her first column as ombudsman in 2005:

“My values simply are these: Journalism should be as accurate as human beings can make it and it should be enlightening, fair, honest and as transparent as possible. Mistakes should be acknowledged and quickly corrected. When you finish reading The Post, you should feel more informed than when you began. I truly believe a democracy can’t operate without a free press. But I also can’t live without ‘Doonesbury’ or ‘Opus’ on Sunday.”

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