Essay: The Death of a Columnist

Joseph Kraft died on Jan. 10. Two hundred newspapers lost a column, one of the best in the nation. A clear light in journalism for 35 years, Joe wrote books, editorials and long reportorial analyses, but his regular "beat" consisted of producing two or three columns a week on national and foreign affairs. His columns were always stately, unhurried. They stared out from the page hard, like a good teacher absorbed in, though not quite obsessed by, his subject, and fixed the readers to the processes of a strong, fair mind. Presidents knew Joe, and he had power in Washington, but...

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