Press: The Passing of an Era

The Philadelphia Inquirer's longtime editor calls it quits

Hard-nosed reporters rarely turn into emotional softies when appraising their bosses. But there were few dry eyes at last week's staff meeting after Philadelphia Inquirer executive editor Eugene Roberts Jr., 58, announced that he would retire from the paper that he had transformed from a second-rate daily into the crown jewel of the Knight-Ridder chain. "There were lots of eyes that were swimming and voices that broke," says reporter B.J. Phillips. "Everybody is here because of him."

When the quiet, slightly rumpled New York Times national editor took over the Inquirer in 1972, it was considered one of the 10 worst...

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