John L. Hess

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According to his book My Times: A Memoir of Dissent, John L. Hess got his first job in journalism in Phelps Dodge Corp.'s company town of Bisbee, Arizona in 1944. After various other journalistic stints he arrived at The New York Times in the early 1950s, where he remained until the late 1970s.

His assignments at theTimes included editor, rewrite man, foreign correspondent, feature writer, investigative reporter, food critic and obituary editor.

Hess holds the French award Ordre National du Mérite and won Columbia School of Journalism's Meyer Berger award for his Times investigative series on New York's nursing home scandals.


"Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, in the roles of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, have fixed the image of 1972 as a glory year for American journalism. It was a disgraceful year. The campaign coverage was dominated not by Nixon's crimes but by McGovern's tactical missteps. Woodward and Bernstein and Watergate were viewed with disdain by the national press corps.... Meanwhile, [Times reporter Max] Frankel reveled in journalistic glory, for reporting Nixon's discovery of China. In his memoir Max remembers himself as putting one over on a spiteful president who had limited the Times to only one ticket to his party. For that, Max worked so hard that he won a Pulitzer Prize. I am sure he wrote well; I recall some business about the Chinese leaders feeding choice morsels to their guests with chopsticks. The trip established Nixon's stature as a statesman and Kissinger's as his brilliant vizier. Was not the real story the way the Chinese had finally reeled in the American Fish?..." (My Times, p. 107)

Resources and articles


  • John L. Hess, My Times: A Memoir of Dissent, New York, Seven Stories Press, 2004. ISBN 1583226222.

External articles