James Reston

James Barrett Reston (November 3, 1909 – December 6, 1995), nicknamed "Scotty", was an American journalist whose career spanned the mid-1930s to the early 1990s. He was associated for many years with The New York Times.

James Reston
James Barrett Reston

November 3, 1909
DiedDecember 6, 1995 (aged 86)
Washington, D.C., United States
Alma materUniversity of Illinois (B.A., 1932)[1]
Occupationcolumnist, editor
Notable credit(s)
The New York Times
Spouse(s)Sarah Jane "Sally" Fulton
ChildrenJames Reston Jr.
Thomas Reston
Richard Reston

Early life

Reston was born in Clydebank, Scotland, into a poor, devout Scottish Presbyterian family that emigrated to the United States in 1920. He sailed with his mother and sister to New York as steerage passengers on board SS Mobile, and they were inspected at Ellis Island on September 28, 1920.[2]

The family settled in the Dayton, Ohio area, and Reston graduated from Oakwood High School. In 1927, he was a medalist in the first Ohio High School Golf Championship. He was Ohio Public Links champion in 1931 and in 1932 was a member of the University of Illinois' Big Ten championship team.[3]


After working briefly for the Springfield, Ohio Daily News, he joined the Associated Press in 1934. He moved to the London bureau of The New York Times in 1939, but returned to New York in 1940. In 1942, he took leave of absence to establish a U.S. Office of War Information in London. Rejoining the Times in 1945, Reston was assigned to Washington, D.C., as national correspondent. In 1948, he was appointed diplomatic correspondent. (During the August 27, 1948, radio broadcast over which he presided, his title is Pulitzer Prize-winning bureau chief.[4]) In 1953, he became bureau chief and columnist.

In subsequent years, Reston served as associate editor of the Times from 1964 to 1968, executive editor from 1968 to 1969, and vice president from 1969 to 1974. He wrote a nationally syndicated column from 1974 until 1987, when he became a senior columnist. During the Nixon administration, he was on the master list of Nixon political opponents.

Reston retired from the Times in 1989.

Reston interviewed many of the world's leaders and wrote extensively about the leading events and issues of his time. He interviewed President John F. Kennedy immediately after the 1961 Vienna summit with Nikita Khrushchev on the heels of the Bay of Pigs invasion. Stephen Kinzer's 2013 book The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War portrayed Reston as a key contact of former CIA chief Allen Dulles who had collaborated with the CIA in Operation Mockingbird, in which the agency sought to influence global reporting and journalism.


He died at 86 in Washington, DC.

Personal life

Reston married his wife, Sally (born Sarah Jane Fulton), on December 24, 1935, after meeting her at the University of Illinois. He also was a member of Sigma Pi fraternity's Phi Chapter at Illinois.[5] They had three sons; James, a journalist, non-fiction writer and playwright; Thomas, formerly Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for public affairs and the deputy spokesman for the State Department;[6] and Richard, the retired publisher of the Vineyard Gazette, a newspaper on Martha's Vineyard purchased by the elder Reston in 1968.[1]

While at Illinois, he was roommates with John C. Evans, who was also a Sigma Pi brother.[7]


Reston's books include:

  • Prelude to Victory (1942)
  • The Artillery of the Press (1967)
  • Sketches in the Sand (1967)
  • Deadline (1991) (memoir)


Reston won the Pulitzer Prize twice. The first was in 1945, for his coverage of the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, particularly an exclusive series that detailed how the delegates planned to set up the United Nations. Decades later, he revealed that his source was a former New York Times copy boy who was a member of the Chinese delegation.[8][9] He received the second award in 1957 for his national correspondence, especially "his five-part analysis of the effect of President Eisenhower's illness on the functioning of the executive branch of the federal government".[10] He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1986 and the Four Freedoms Award in 1991.[1]

He was also awarded the chevalier of the Légion d'honneur from France, the Order of St. Olav from Norway, Order of Merit from Chile, the Order of Leopold from Belgium, and honorary degrees from 28 universities.[11]


Writing in The Washington Post shortly after Reston's death, Bart Barnes observed that "Mr. Reston's work was required reading for top government officials, with whom he sometimes cultivated a professional symbiosis; he would be their sounding board and they would be his news sources." But former Times editor R. W. Apple Jr. noted in Reston's obituary that he "was forgiving of the frailties of soldiers, statesmen and party hacks—too forgiving, some of his critics said, because he was too close to them".[1]

Reston had a particularly close relationship with Henry Kissinger and became one of his stalwart supporters in the media. At least eighteen conversations between the two are captured in transcripts released by the Department of State in response to FOIA requests. They document Reston volunteering to approach fellow Times columnist Anthony Lewis to ask him to moderate his anti-Kissinger texts and offering to plant a question in a press conference for the secretary.[12][13]

A. G. Noornai, reviewing the 2002 biography of Reston, described how his closeness to Kissinger later damaged him further:

Nixon had been re-elected. Kissinger returned from Paris with a peace deal. Reston praised him highly. Nixon, however, decided to bomb North Vietnam to demonstrate his support for the South. Reston did a story on December 13, 1972, based on his talks with Kissinger citing obstruction by Saigon, which was true. But he did not, could not, report what Kissinger had suppressed from him—he was privy to the decision to bomb Hanoi. That happened five days after the story was published. Kissinger now tried to distance himself from it and Reston was taken in by his claims. Kissinger "undoubtedly opposes" the bombing, he wrote and tried to explain Kissinger's compulsions. Reston's line had not gone unnoticed. The December 13 column was the last straw. It harmed his reputation. Reston had spiked the Pentagon reporter's story because it conflicted with his perceptions. The reporter was proved right.[14]

In his review of Reston's memoir, Eric Alterman wrote in The Columbia Journalism Review:

To read Reston on Henry Kissinger today is, as it was during the Nixon administration, a little embarrassing. (Reston once titled one of his columns "By Henry Kissinger with James Reston".) Nothing in his experience in Washington, Reston says over and over in these memoirs, "was ever quite as good or as bad as the fashionable opinion of the day", and he thinks of Kissinger as a prime example of this. [...] But in praising Kissinger, Reston is praising a man who regularly misled him, who wiretapped NSC staff members to determine who was leaking to reporters when they revealed his unconstitutional maneuverings, and who urged Nixon to prosecute Reston's newspaper for its constitutionally protected publication of the Pentagon Papers. During the infamous 1972 Christmas bombing of North Vietnam, Reston wrote of Kissinger that "he has said nothing in public about the bombing in North Vietnam, which he undoubtedly opposes.... If the bombing goes on ... Mr. Kissinger will be free to resign." The only problem with the interpretation, however, was that the bombings were Kissinger's idea. He misled Reston about his own position and then misled the White House staff about these conversations, finally admitting the truth when confronted with his phone records.[15]

Reston also displayed his affinity for the powerful when Edward Kennedy drove his car off the bridge at Chappaquiddick Island, resulting in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. Summering at nearby Martha's Vineyard, Reston filed the first account of the incident for The New York Times; his opening paragraph began "Tragedy has again struck the Kennedy family." Managing editor A. M. Rosenthal edited the text to make Kopechne the subject.[16][17]


In July 1971, Reston suffered appendicitis while visiting China with his wife. After his appendix was removed through conventional surgery at the Anti-Imperialist Hospital in Beijing, his post-operative pain was "treated" by Li Chang-yuan with acupuncture that "sent ripples of pain racing through my limbs and, at least, had the effect of diverting my attention from the distress in my stomach."[18] The article he wrote for the Times describing his experience was the first time many Americans had heard of the traditional Chinese medical practice.[19]

Cultural references

In the 1962 novel Fail-Safe, by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler, the unnamed President of the United States refers to Reston during an impending nuclear crisis when he says that "someone will crack and start to call Scotty or one of the wire services or some damn thing."

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Apple, R. W., "James Reston, a Giant of Journalism, Dies at 86", The New York Times, December 7, 1995
  2. ^ Ship's manifest, S.S. "Mobile", Oct. 7, 1920, Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, http://www.ellisisland.org/EIFile/popup_weif_5a.asp?src=%2Fcgi-bin%2Ftif2gif.exe%3FT%3D\\images\T715-2843\T715-28430422.TIF%26S%3D.5&pID=103036030194&name=Robert%26nbsp%3BSelf&doa=Sep+28%2C+1920&port=Liverpool&line=0014 Archived 2014-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Albers, Bucky (1995-10-01). "Amateur Golfers Honored - 4 Greats To Be Inducted Into Hall Of Fame". Dayton Daily News. p. 9D.
  4. ^ "Whittaker Chambers Meets the Press". American Mercury. February 1949: 153, 157–158. Archived from the original on 23 February 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  5. ^ Dunlap, David W., "Sally F. Reston, Journalist and Photographer, Dies at 89", The New York Times, September 24, 2001
  6. ^ "Victoria Kiechel, Architect, Is Married To Thomas Busey Reston, a Lawyer", The New York Times, May 6, 1990
  7. ^ "Scotty and the Senator" (PDF). The Emerald of Sigma Pi. Vol. 52 no. 3. Fall 1965. pp. 172–173.
  8. ^ Freedland, Jonathan and Alistair Cooke, "The pope of Washington: Obituary of James Reston", The Guardian, December 8, 1995, p. 20
  9. ^ "James Reston; Obituary" The Times, December 8, 1995, p. 21
  10. ^ Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting
  11. ^ Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2008. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC
  12. ^ Slate 1 Archived October 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Slate 2 Archived February 5, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ FrontlineOnNet Archived March 10, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Columbia Journalism Review Archived October 24, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Shafer, Jack (August 26, 2009). "For the Love of Teddy: James Reston's inexplicable Kennedy crush". Slate.
  17. ^ Stacks, John F. (2006). Scotty: James B. Reston and the Rise and Fall of American Journalism. University of Nebraska Press. p. 282. ISBN 9780803293397.
  18. ^ Reston, James (July 26, 1971). "Now, About My Operation in Peking" (PDF). The New York Times.(subscription required)
  19. ^ Prensky, William L. (December 14, 1995). "Reston Helped Open a Door to Acupuncture". The New York Times. Letter to the Editor.
  • Stacks, John F. Scotty: James B. Reston and the Rise and Fall of American Journalism. (2002) ISBN 0-316-80985-3

External links

1903 International Cross Country Championships

The 1903 International Cross Country Championships was held in Hamilton, Scotland, at the Hamilton Park on 28 March 1903.

A preview of the event and an appraisal of the results appeared in the Glasgow Herald.

Complete results, medallists,

and the results of British athletes were published.

1904 International Cross Country Championships

The 1904 International Cross Country Championships was held in St Helens, England, at the Haydock Park Racecourse on 26 March 1904.

A report on the event was given in the Glasgow Herald.

Complete results, medallists,

and the results of British athletes were published.

1945 Pulitzer Prize

The following are the Pulitzer Prizes for 1945.

1957 Pulitzer Prize

The following are the Pulitzer Prizes for 1957.

Arthur H. Vandenberg Jr.

Arthur Hendrick Vandenberg Jr. (June 30, 1907 – January 18, 1968) was a Republican government official from Michigan. He worked for many years on the staff of his father, Arthur H. Vandenberg (1884–1951), who served in the U.S. Senate from 1928 to 1951. He was briefly appointed to Eisenhower's White House staff in November 1952 but resigned in 1953 at the very start of the Eisenhower administration. He also worked as a consultant and academic and edited his father's papers for publication.

The reason for his 1953 resignation, originally blamed on health problems, was later revealed to be his inability to pass a security test because of his homosexuality. In October 1964, following the arrest of President Lyndon Johnson's longtime aide Walter Jenkins on a "morals charge", columnist Drew Pearson published the circumstances of Vandenberg's 1953 resignation, and President Johnson himself repeated them publicly later that same month.

Bernardo Buil

Bernardo Boyl (also spelled Boil, Boyl or Boyal) was an Aragonese monk or friar, known as Fray Buil, who accompanied Christopher Columbus on his second voyage across the Atlantic. On January 6, 1494 Buil conducted the first mass held in the New World, in a temporary church on La Isabela. There is unclear evidence about his affiliation to a religious order. He left the Indies after disagreements with Columbus, and his mission work came to little.

Credibility gap

Credibility gap is a term that came into wide use with journalism, political and public discourse in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. At the time, it was most frequently used to describe public skepticism about the Lyndon B. Johnson administration's statements and policies on the Vietnam War. It was used in journalism as a euphemism for recognized lies told to the public by politicians. Today, it is used more generally to describe almost any "gap" between an actual situation and what politicians and government agencies say about it.

David W. Dunlap

David W. Dunlap is an American journalist who worked as a reporter for The New York Times. He wrote a regular column, Building Blocks, that looked at the New York metropolitan area through its architecture, infrastructure, spaces, and places. He extensively documented the rebuilding of the World Trade Center after the September 11 attacks in 2001. He began writing about landmarks in 1981, when he was evicted from the New York Biltmore Hotel so that he would not be able to see its interior being demolished.He began his career as a clerk to James Reston in 1975, became a graphics editor in 1976, and then reporter in 1981. Between 1994 and 1999, Dunlap covered gay, lesbian, and AIDS issues for The New York Times. He was the first reporter to officially cover the "gay and lesbian beat". The New York Times decided to officially document news about gay and lesbian communities after the AIDS-related death of Times reporter Jeffrey Schmalz in November 1993. Dunlap was sometimes criticized for covering the news from a politically left-leaning position. He retired from The Times in December 2017.

Dunlap is currently documenting the history of Provincetown, Mass., through its architecture, on the website Building Provincetown 2020, which is under construction.

Frost/Nixon (play)

Frost/Nixon is a 2006 British play by screenwriter and dramatist Peter Morgan based on a series of televised interviews that former U.S. President Richard Nixon granted broadcaster David Frost in 1977 about his administration, including his role in the Watergate scandal.

James Brooke (journalist)

James Bettner Brooke (born February 21, 1955 in New York City), an American journalist, is currently editor in chief of the Ukraine Business Journal, an English-language subscription news site based in Kiev, Ukraine.

Previously, he was editor in chief of the English-language Khmer Times newspaper, in Cambodia. From 2010 to 2014, he was the Russia/former Soviet Union Bureau Chief for Voice of America, based in Moscow. For VOA, he wrote Russia Watch, a weekly blog. Previously, he worked as Moscow Bureau Chief for Bloomberg. Before Bloomberg, he reported for 24 years for The New York Times, largely overseas in countries such as Japan, South Korea, Ivory Coast and Brazil.

Posts held by Brooke at The New York Times have included:

assistant to James Reston, Washington columnist, 1978–80

metropolitan reporter, 1984–86

bureau chief, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, December 1986-January 1989

bureau chief, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, February 1989-July 1995

Rocky Mountain bureau chief, Denver, Colorado, August 1995 – 1999

bureau chief, Canada, August 1999- 2001

East Asia correspondent (Japan, South Korea, North Korea) based in Tokyo, August 2001-June 2006Brooke graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Latin American Studies and was a stringer for United Press International as a student. In 1976, he spent a semester at Pontificia Universidade Catolica in Rio de Janeiro.

After graduation, Brooke was a freelance reporter and part-time staffer at The Berkshire Eagle in Massachusetts from June 1977 to April 1978. Prior to joining the Times as a reporter in 1984, he was the South American correspondent for the Miami Herald.

James Reston Jr.

James Reston, Jr. (born March 8, 1941) is an American author and playwright.

Joe Creason

Joe Creason (June 10, 1919 – August 14, 1974) was a journalist who wrote for The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky.

He was born in Benton, Kentucky, which he would later humorously call "the only town in Kentucky where I was born." After graduation from the University of Kentucky in 1940, he became the editor of a Benton newspaper, and then the editor of a newspaper in Murray. He then accepted a position as a sports reporter, feature writer, and columnist for The Courier-Journal in 1941.

His popular column, "Joe Creason's Kentucky," began in 1963 and documented the lives of everyday Kentuckians. Creason traveled through every county in Kentucky in search of material for these stories, and he often printed stories sent in to him by readers. These articles were written in a quirky and simple style, featuring colorful and amusing characters. The articles were collected into two books and a record album.

Creason was also an amateur historian, and he co-wrote and edited "The Civil War in Kentucky," an award-winning newspaper supplement. He was also president of the University of Kentucky Alumni Association.

Creason continued writing and working until his death, which occurred while playing tennis with WHAS radio personality Milton Metz. Joe Creason Park, where he died, is named after him.The Bingham family that owned The Courier-Journal, other friends of Creason, and alumni of the University of Kentucky made donations to the UK School of Journalism to establish the Joe Creason Lecture Series, which began in 1977 with a lecture by columnist James J. Kilpatrick. James Reston of The New York Times gave the next lecture, in 1979, and it has been held each year since.

New York Times Youth Forum

New York Times Youth Forum was a public affairs program, sponsored by The New York Times and aired Sundays at 5pm EST on the now-defunct DuMont Television Network from September 14, 1952, to June 14, 1953. The host was Dorothy Gordon (born Dorothy Lerner, 1889-1970), who continued to host the show on WABD from the time the network closed in 1956 until 1958 when it moved to WRCA-TV (now WNBC).

The Times dropped sponsorship in 1960, at which point radio simulcasts moved from WQXR (AM) to WNBC (AM). Thereafter, Gordon continued the show as Dorothy Gordon's Youth Forum, winning a Peabody Award in 1966. Gordon continued to host the show until her death in 1970. The show also appeared first-run as late as April 23, 1967 (with guest Otto Preminger) on WNBC-TV.

Nixon interviews

The Nixon interviews were a series of interviews of former U.S. President Richard Nixon conducted by British journalist David Frost, and produced by John Birt. They were recorded and broadcast on television and radio in four programs in 1977. The interviews became the central subject of Peter Morgan's play Frost/Nixon in 2006.

Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting

This Pulitzer Prize has been awarded since 1942 for a distinguished example of reporting on national affairs in the United States. In its first six years (1942–1947), it was called the Pulitzer Prize for Telegraphic Reporting – National.

Reston (surname)

Reston is an English surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Agnes Reston (1771–1856), Scottish wartime nurse during the Peninsular War

Ana Carolina Reston (1985–2006), Brazilian fashion model

Arloa Reston (born 1978), American actress

James Reston (1909–1995), American journalist

James Reston, Jr. (born 1941), American author and journalist

Thelma Reston (1937–2012), Brazilian actressFictional characters:

Clive Reston, a character in the Marvel Comics Universe

The Collegian (La Salle University)

The Collegian, which published its first issue on March 16, 1931, is the on-campus newspaper for La Salle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is published weekly throughout the school year. The newspaper is written, edited and produced by students of La Salle University, underneath a faculty adviser.

The Reporter (magazine)

The Reporter was an American biweekly news magazine published in New York City from 1949 through 1968.

The magazine was founded by Max Ascoli, who was born in 1898 in Ferrara, Italy to a Jewish family. Ascoli grew up to become a professor in political philosophy and law, and began to draw the attention of authorities for his outspoken anti-fascist views. He was arrested in 1928, and immigrated to the United States three years later.

Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Ascoli became a prominent American anti-fascist, cultivating relationships with influential intellectuals and government officials. With the beginning of the Cold War, Ascoli became convinced of the need to counter Soviet propaganda and convince Americans of the importance of their assuming a leadership role in the world. To accomplish those ends, he joined with journalist James Reston to found The Reporter in 1949. Ascoli described the liberalism of The Reporter as one that favored liberty not in the purely negative sense, but as "always identified with and related to specific and present situations." Writing in 1955, he described the two main tasks of American liberalism as seeking to move the country beyond demagoguery and making the case for American democracy and capitalism to the rest of the world. According to one scholar, "The Reporter was explicitly created to serve as a platform for those anticommunists who were neither former communists nor former fellow travelers."From the beginning, The Reporter acknowledged its activist agenda, taking a hawkish position on the Cold War. Denouncing historical isolationism, one unsigned 1949 article argued that the US was faced with "compulsion to play a leading role in the world—not to play it intermittently, by casual interventions and the enunciation of moral principles, but to play it consistently and for the greatest stakes…" Always stressing the interconnection between domestic and international issues, the magazine denounced McCarthyism and racial segregation not only on the grounds that such illiberal policies were contrary to American ideals, but by arguing that they hurt the United States in the global war of ideas.

The Reporter had a huge influence in its day, both among policy makers and the educated public. One author, writing in Commentary in 1960, praised The Reporter as "represent[ing] the concerns of intelligent American liberalism." In a 1962 survey of reporters asking what magazines they cited in their work, The Reporter came in fourth place after Time, U.S. News & World Report, and Newsweek, with no other publication coming close. It would eventually achieve a circulation of 215,000 readers. Despite its internationalist orientation and the promotion of the magazine by U.S. government agencies working abroad, however, The Reporter had relatively few European readers. Contributors included some of the most prominent statesmen, journalists, and intellectuals of the day. The Reporter ceased publication in 1968 due to the widening gap between Ascoli’s hawkish stance on the Vietnam War on the one hand, and the opinions of readers and advertisers on the other. Ascoli pointed to an "increasingly heavy editorial and financial burden" behind his decision to merge his publication with Harper’s Magazine.

Zola Books

Zola Books is a social eBook retailer that launched on September 20, 2012. It is described by the Washington Post as "a venture whose strategy is to combine all three of the e-book world’s major market functions — retailing, curation and social-networking — in an ambitious bid to become a one-stop destination for book lovers on the Web"The site currently sells six eBook exclusives: The Accidental Victim by James Reston Jr., Isaac Marion's The New Hunger, Making Mavericks by surfer Frosty Hesson, The Chemickal Marriage by Gordon Dahlquist, Autumn Leaves by comic Annabelle Gurwitch and The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. The company will soon start selling eBooks from a variety of different publishers. The social aspects of the website come from the ability to follow authors, publishers and other readers, read book lists created by them, and see what friends are reading and where they highlight or mark passages in a book. The site also features publishing news, exclusive author Q&As, and a large amount of book reviews. Zola is supportive of independent bookstores and provides them with storefronts on the site and a way for customers to pledge their allegiance to a certain store so that store receives money from all of that customer's purchases on the site.

The name Zola comes from the idea of including everything from Z to A on the website and being like Amazon but backwards.

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