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Arthur Ochs Sulzberger

William J. Brennan, Jr. Defense of Freedom Award Recipient, 1996

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The New York Times Company

Twenty-five years ago this past June, The New York Times was at a vital crossroads in its history: it had begun publishing classified documents that traced the history of the Vietnam War and was asked by the Nixon Administration to cease publication. When the Times refused, the Government brought suit seeking restraint of publication. Fifteen days later, the restraint was lifted by the United States Supreme Court and the documents were in the paper again.

The case was monumentally important to the Times because it put the paper's reputation at stake in opposing the Government, and the decision was a watershed in American constitutional law because it reasserted freedom of the press from Government control.  A principal player in that drama was publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who, after discussing the issues with the Times' lawyers and editors, courageously decided in favor of publication.

Mr. Sulzberger is currently chairman and chief executive officer of The New York Times Company. Except for service in the U.S. Marine Corps during both World War II and the Korean War, Mr. Sulzberger has spent his entire career in journalism, most of it at the Times.  A graduate of Columbia University, he was a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal from 1953 until 1954, after which he joined the Times' city staff as a reporter, going on to serve as a Times correspondent in its Paris, Rome and London bureaus. Mr. Sulzberger became assistant to the publisher in 1955, and assistant treasurer in 1957.  In 1959 he was elected a director of The New York Times Company.  Mr. Sulzberger became president and publisher in 1963 and chairman and chief executive officer of The New York Times Company in 1973.

Mr. Sulzberger is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Trustee Emeritus of Columbia University.  He has served as a director of the Newspaper Advertising Bureau (and as chairman from 1974 to 1976), a director of the American Newspaper Publishers Association (and as chairman from 1988 to 1989), and a director of the American Press Institute as well as The Associated Press. In 1992, he received the Columbia Journalism Award, the highest honor of the Columbia University School of Journalism.

The New York Times has been managed by Mr. Sulzberger's family since 1896, when his maternal grandfather purchased and rescued it from near bankruptcy.

 
 
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