Chicago Newspaper Legend Ed Rooney Dead at 82

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By: E&P Staff

Funeral services will be Wednesday for Edmund J. Rooney Jr., an old-school street reporter who shared a Pulitzer Prize in 1957 at the old Chicago Daily News for his reporting on a corrupt state auditor.

Rooney died Saturday at his home in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago after suffering a stroke in December. He was 82.

Rooney was famed as an aggressive and thorough reporter who started in the “get me rewrite” era, and was such a font of hard-earned knowledge he was teaching journalism for years at Loyola University in Chicago before actually completing his bachelor’s degree there in 1977. He went on to earn a master’s and doctorate, after he began teaching full-time at the school.

Rooney’s clip book would read like a history of Chicago’s most famous and infamous moments. He covered the Richard Speck’s grisly murder of student nurses, and the 1968 Chicago Democratic convention police riot. The Daily News sent him to cover Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., and to Massachusetts to cover the 1969 death of a campaign worker who died when U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island.

Rooney began his newspaper career as a night copy boy at the old Chicago Sun. Drafted into the Army in 1943, he was a medic who saw action at the Anzio, Italy, landing by Allied forces. He was also a writer for Stars and Stripes.

After the war, he worked at the Daily Southtown, then known as the Southtown Economist, and at the City News Bureau of Chicago. He joined the Daily News in 1947. He was named a Nieman Fellow at Harvard in 1959.

Survivors include four sons and two daughters.

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