By: Editorial Staff
JOE DEALEY LED the newspaper his grandfather founded during one of this century’s great newspaper wars and sold its brand of high-class regional journalism to Wall Street.
H.L. Stevenson led United Press International’s worldwide news operations during the Cold War, Vietnam War and Watergate in its mortal combat with the Associated Press.
Dealey’s Dallas Morning News went on to defeat the Dallas Times Herald, while Stevenson’s feisty UPI lost the war to displace AP as the nation’s largest news-gathering organization.
Both men succumbed to illness recently.
Stevenson, a 30-year UPI veteran, died March 30 at age 65 in St. Joseph’s
Medical Center in Stamford, Conn. He lived in Rye, N.Y., and had been ill since suffering a heart attack in November.
Dealey died of lung cancer April 7 at his home in Dallas. President of the News from 1960 to 1980, he led the family-controlled newspaper when the mighty Times Mirror Co. bought the rival Times Herald in 1970 and took the News’ parent company, A.H. Belo Corp., public in 1981.
He spent nearly 60 years with the News, which George Bannerman Dealey, his grandfather, bought in 1926 from the heirs of Col. A.H. Belo.
“He was the rightful heir of a great newspaper family. We don’t have too many of those coming along anymore,” Joe D. Smith Jr., publisher of the Alexandria (La.) Daily Town Talk, told the News in a 61-inch obit by Joe Simnacher. “He represents the end of an era for many of us in the South.”
Dealey was born in Dallas in 1919 and grew up in Highland Park.
His career started in the mailroom of the family’s evening Dallas Journal in 1937, when the News’ circulation was 102,000 daily. At his death, circulation stood at about 494,000.
He studied English at the University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated in 1941, before studying newspaper production at the Southwest School of Printing.
He rejoined the Journal in 1942 as a sports reporter before being drafted into the Army Air Corps. After the service, he joined the News’ business news department.
Dealey was named assistant secretary of Belo in 1950 and became active in management thereafter, when the company began building its broadcast holdings. He was elected to the board in 1952, and president and CEO in 1960.
Dealey helped establish the family’s foundation in the 1950s and was active in community organizations and charities.
Editorially, he helped organize coverage of John F. Kennedy’s assassination while his top editor was locked in a federal grand jury. When Times Mirror bought the Times Herald, he managed a series of investments in news coverage and presses that led to Times Mirror’s selling out and, eventually, to the Herald’s demise in 1991.
Stevenson devoted his entire career, even after retirement, to journalism.
“Stevenson was a no-nonsense news editor weaned on the never-ending deadlines of wire service warfare,” said former UPI managing editor Bill Ferguson. “He lived to compete and took no solace in second place.”
Born in New Orleans in 1929, Hubert L. Stevenson grew up in Picayune, Miss., where he entered the field as reporter and sports editor at the weekly Picayune Item.
His work as a college journalist was interrupted by service in the U.S. Army from 1950 to 1952. He returned to college at New York University 30 years later to finish his degree.
Stevenson joined UPI as a reporter in Jackson, Miss., in 1953. He served in Florida bureaus and became Virginia state news editor before becoming a sales executive.
For two years beginning in 1960, he was a general news editor for the world service in New York, and for the next two years directed coverage of the civil rights movement in the South.
He was appointed managing editor in 1965, and in 1972 was named editor in chief and vice president, with responsibility for the global coverage of more than 1,000 journalists. He and other UPI leaders visited China in 1972 and 1978 to push for reopening of U.S news bureaus, and made similar visits to Cuba in the early 1980s.