Leonard Downie, Jr., executive editor of The Washington Post, will speak as part of the second annual Timothy Sumner Robinson Forum at Samford University Thursday, April 12. Downie will speak on "The Future of the News Media" at 7 p.m. in Brock Recital Hall. The program is open to the public free.
The noted newspaper executive also will visit Samford journalism and mass communication classes that day.
The forum, held in cooperation with The Post, honors the memory of Robinson, the late Post reporter and Samford graduate who made his mark in journalism covering the Watergate scandal of the 1970s. As part of the forum, The Post hosts a Samford journalism student for a two-week internship in the summer.
Downie joined The Post as a summer intern in 1964. He became a well-known local investigative reporter before moving into editing ranks as assistant managing editor in 1974. Later, he was London correspondent and national editor before becoming managing editor in 1984. He was named executive editor in 1991.
Downie was coauthor with Robert G. Kaiser of The News About the News: American Journalism in Peril, a 2002 book that won the Goldsmith Award from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2003. He also wrote three other books, Justice Denied (1971), Mortgage on America (1974) and The New Muckrakers (1976).
Robinson, a 1965 Samford graduate, covered the Civil Rights Movement for The Birmingham Post-Herald and United Press International before joining The Post in 1969. He covered Watergate in his role as U.S. District Court reporter. One year, he had more front page stories than any other Post reporter.
Later, Robinson was editor of the National Law Review, America's largest-selling legal publication, and the Los Angeles Daily Journal. He also worked for Excite, Alta Vista, NNCi.com and Time Warner AOL.
Robinson died at age 58 in 2003 from complications following cancer surgery. His widow, Jan Andrew, worked with Post deputy managing editor Milton Coleman and Samford officials to initiate the forum.