Fred Hiatt: New York Times and Washington Post editor dies aged 66

Image copyright AFP Image caption Hiatt, also the author of four books, took over the editorial page in 2011

Fred Hiatt, a senior editor at the Washington Post and the New York Times, has died, aged 66.

Hiatt, a major voice on American politics for three decades, was a writer, editor and commentator known for his conservative outlook on life and freedom.

He took over the Washington Post’s editorial page in 2011 and left in June to begin a journalism fellowship at Princeton University.

Post Executive Editor Marty Baron called him “an incredibly talented and influential journalist and commentator”.

Hiatt, who received the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2013, was known for his “straight talk” and commitment to conservatism, and a wish for more civic virtue in public life.

In June, he announced he was taking a journalism fellowship at Princeton University, the school where John Hinderaker, a junior fellow at American Enterprise Institute (AEI), called Hiatt “my hero”.

Hiatt helped establish AEI as a conservative think tank in 1988.

Read more about Fred Hiatt’s life, and career

He said in June that he was changing his major from English and philosophy to communications studies, and “will become a master in exchange for a role model in service to civil society”.

Hiatt, who did not support Donald Trump in the 2016 election, said “he was proud to be a conservative in a country that tolerated so many ideas that I once believed were unacceptable.”

Hiatt joined the Washington Post staff in 1989 and was appointed the editorial page editor in 2011.

He is survived by his wife, Marsha, and a daughter.

Image copyright The Washington Post Image caption Hiatt took over the Washington Post’s editorial page in 2011

“Fred’s place in the history of American journalism has always been, quite simply, incalculable,” Barron said in a news release, saying, “he was responsible for the profoundly positive legacy of the Post.”

In a speech at a think tank in 2010, Hiatt reflected on his experience at the Washington Post and the political leanings of its readers.

“Today’s Post readers come from every background and from every continent. They are scientifically and socially conservative; politically, they are an almost perfect cross-section of American politics,” he said.

“As a young journalist I was wondering whether I might be able to appreciate my fellow citizens this way, with their pasts, their hopes, their hopes for the future. The reality is that these people are often angry. They are not stupid. They see their nation on the move in a direction that causes more hardship, they see their dreams slipping away, and they yearn for stability.

“This is what makes the American experiment work, after all. Even amid this turmoil, things are not always as they seem. After being told that Republicans were controlling the House, they assumed that, just like Democrats, they were set to go through the motions.”

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