(AP) John McLaughlin, a longtime political columnist known as one of the foremost chroniclers of all things New Jersey and New York, has died. He was 70.
McLaughlin, who died Thursday at his Morris Township home after a long battle with cancer and Parkinson’s disease, was a journalist for more than five decades. A native of Philadelphia, he worked for several newspapers in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, spending the last 24 years of his career at the Star-Ledger of Newark.
After serving overseas with the Army in the early 1950s, McLaughlin returned home and earned a degree in English literature from La Salle College in Philadelphia. He also served as sports editor for the school newspaper and became a freelance writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
He later worked for the Trentonian of Trenton, the Doylestown (Pa.) Intelligencer and the Trenton Times, where he rose from courthouse reporter to political writer and columnist.
In the late 1970s, McLaughlin became the chief political correspondent for the New York Daily News, covering the foibles of mayors, governors and presidents, always with an eye for what that meant to the public.
He then joined the Star-Ledger in 1981, writing the “New York, New York” column for many years before returning to cover the New Jersey political scene in 1995. Over the years, he wrote on matters big and small, such as political and financial matters as well as the state’s confusing highway signs and its perennial battles with incontinent geese.
McLaughlin also gained recognition for his “Lanes of Pain” columns in 1998, which showed the state’s touted high-occupancy vehicle lanes on Routes 80 and 287 made traffic and pollution worse, not better.