Jerry Ceppos, the onetime prime editor at The Mercury News and later on dean of two significant journalism educational facilities, died Friday night. He was 75.
The result in of dying was sepsis introduced on by a significant infection, said his wife, Karen Ceppos.
In a journalism profession spanning more than 50 decades, Jerry Ceppos led The Mercury News when California’s Silicon Valley was exploding with innovation, such as the birth of digital media that would in the end undermine the common newspaper small business. As an editor and later on an educator, he drove a emphasis on the new technologies and its remaking of modern society. He also championed variety in the newsroom and the classroom.
“Jerry Ceppos was a fantastic journalist — gifted, principled, industrious, dedicated to precision and fairness,” claimed Larry Jinks, previous publisher of The Mercury Information.
The paper won two Pulitzer Prizes whilst Ceppos was managing editor. As government editor, he endured large criticism for the publication of a flawed investigative sequence implicating the CIA in unlawful drug working, but later on gained common praise for accepting personalized obligation on the entrance web page and overhauling the paper’s editing system.
He would rise to be the major information officer of Knight Ridder, former proprietor of The Mercury News, The Miami Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Detroit Cost-free Push, The Charlotte Observer, The Kansas City Star and 26 other day by day papers, earning it for a time the next biggest publisher of newspapers in the United States. Knight Ridder, based mostly in San Jose, is now defunct and The Mercury Information is owned by MediaNews Group.
Ceppos took satisfaction in the actuality that he increased the racial and ethnic range of The Mercury Information personnel about threefold all through his tenure as government editor.
David Yarnold, who succeeded Ceppos as government editor in San Jose, explained, “Jerry did a thing that only great editors do: In the mid-90’s, he recognized the tale we ended up sitting on, the earning of Silicon Valley in the context of a greater part minority community, and he challenged his newsroom to see the large photo.”
That meant producing new beats and reporting teams to go over previously neglected populations.
Susan Goldberg, who succeeded Yarnold and was later on editor in chief of Countrywide Geographic, explained Ceppos was unfailingly encouraging. “He assured you, in specific means, why you had been capable for roles you assumed were being out of arrive at,” she said. “You normally felt superior just after speaking with Jerry. What a present.”
As dean of the Manship School of Mass Conversation at Louisiana State College, Ceppos commenced a information support to assistance fill a void remaining by declining mainstream information shops, assigning student journalists to go over condition federal government and undertake investigative tasks.
He urged them to dig into unsolved murders by Ku Klux Klansmen during the civil legal rights period, and 90 news sites in Louisiana and Mississippi have run stories by Manship students, explained Christopher Drew, a previous New York Situations investigative reporter who directs the assistance.
Jerome Merle Ceppos was born in Washington, D.C., on Oct 14, 1946, the only child of Harry and Florence (Epstein) Ceppos. His mother’s brother, Sidney Epstein, was a famous Washington newsman, the nattily attired town editor of the afternoon Washington Star when it was the city’s dominant paper, and an inspiration to his nephew. Epstein would reminisce about mentoring Carl Bernstein before he went on to Watergate fame with Bob Woodward or reluctantly hiring an inexperienced young Jacqueline Bouvier as a roving photographer, extensive before she would become Initially Woman Jacqueline Kennedy.
As a self-explained “geeky” university student at Northwood Higher College in Silver Spring, Ceppos edited the college paper, The Crimson and Black. At the University of Maryland, he edited The Diamondback and graduated in 1969 with a diploma in journalism.
Soon after faculty, Ceppos was a reporter and editor at the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle in New York for a few years. In 1972, he moved south to turn out to be an editor at The Miami Herald, the commencing of a very long job with Knight Newspapers, later on Knight Ridder.
A Herald colleague, Marcie Ersoff, launched Ceppos to her kid sister, Karen. They married in 1982 and had two little ones, Matthew, who life in Reno, Nevada, and Robin, of Washington, D.C. In addition to household and work, Ceppos’ passions bundled great wines and accumulating pens. No excursion again to his hometown was complete with no a pay a visit to to Fahrney’s Pens, a boutique specializing in high-finish creating instruments.
In 1981, Ceppos moved to San Jose, the place he immediately rose by means of the editing ranks. Its Pulitzer Prizes when he was taking care of editor had been for reporting on large transfers of own prosperity by President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines out of his region, and for coverage of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
In 1996, a yr following Ceppos grew to become govt editor, the Mercury Information released a a few-portion investigative sequence, Dark Alliance, which built the sensational cost that the crack epidemic raging in Los Angeles was mostly sparked by two Nicaraguan emigres providing huge quantities of cocaine to increase resources for a CIA-backed rebel military in their home state.
When three newspapers, The New York Situations, The Washington Publish and The Los Angeles Instances, revealed big parts contacting into concern the reporting in Darkish Alliance, Ceppos assigned a reporter and editors uninvolved in the authentic stories to re-report them.
On May 11, 1997, he revealed a entrance-webpage column, saying that the Dim Alliance sequence had “oversimplified the complex issues of how the crack epidemic in America grew” and “did not incorporate data that contradicted a central assertion of the series.” He took individual obligation for the flawed perform, expressing, “Few matters in daily life are more durable than proudly owning up to one’s shortcomings.” He claimed the paper experienced unsuccessful to fulfill its very own significant specifications and would overhaul some of its enhancing procedures.
Though Ceppos confronted complaints that he experienced caved to force, he would afterwards obtain an award from the Society of Qualified Journalists for his “superior ethical conduct” in managing the aftermath of the sequence.
In 1999, Ceppos was promoted to vice president for information of Knight Ridder, a part in which, for 6 many years, he recognized and recruited leading editors, set high quality and ethical requirements, oversaw the company’s Washington and foreign bureaus and, as he set it, “led sometimes recalcitrant newsrooms into the electronic age.”
“Jerry was a person of the most thoughtful and considerate people I realized,” stated Tony Ridder, the CEO. “He normally managed to be upbeat and good when issues ended up challenging.”
Ceppos still left Knight Ridder in 2005, just before the publicly-traded firm was bought and broken up. Just after consulting for many decades, he commenced a new occupation as an educator, telling mates he had failed at retirement.
Appointed dean of the Reynolds University of Journalism at the University of Nevada/Reno in 2008, Ceppos raised the funds to renovate the school’s making and update its technology for the electronic age, claimed Kristin Ghiggeri Burgarello, then director of advancement and alumni relations.
Right after a few decades at Reynolds, Ceppos moved in 2011 to the Manship School, where he was dean for seven yrs in advance of transitioning into a entire-time educating purpose, supplying programs on media ethics, American media background and a seminar on fairness in journalism.
Aydin Virga, a increasing senior at the Manship Faculty, explained she enrolled past tumble in a multiculturalism course Ceppos was teaching by means of Zoom due to the fact of the COVID-19 pandemic. She stated he took a special desire in every scholar, building each and every a person experience critical. “From the second he uncovered of my programs to go after a occupation in legislation, he arrived at out to me separately. He questioned to maintain a Zoom meeting in which he expended a fantastic deal of time speaking about my anxieties and ambitions.” It was “incredibly influential to me since I at last felt belonging and safety in my path.”
She added, “I hope I can are living up to the prospective that he noticed in me.”
Ceppos will be buried in Miami all through a personal spouse and children services. A community celebration of his daily life will be held later. Good friends are questioned to contribute to the Manship College or the charity of their decision.