Former New York Times Correspondent Sydney H. Schanberg Dies at 82

A first job is always memorable. Even more so when your boss is an irascible bearded maniac with a pungent habit of smoking cigars at his desk while railing at the antics of Al D’Amato, the New York senator renowned for his filibusters, ethics issues and penchant for inappropriate utterances.

But working for Sydney H. Schanberg was the best journalism school I could have ever had. The news of his death on Saturday at the age of 82 leaves a hole in my heart — and a bigger one in this pixel-stained trade we call journalism.

In reporting circles, Sydney was legendary: A former correspondent for the New York Times, he had famously covered the 1975 fall of Phnom Penh to the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and subsequently earned a Pulitzer for his work, “carried out at great risk.”

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