Retired Scripps executive, David Stolberg, dies at 83

Thu, May 26, 2011 by Tim King

Influenced by his parents, David Fox Stolberg dedicated his 43-year career to journalism. The 83-year-old Southington, Conn., resident died Tuesday, May 24, 2011.

Stolberg retired from The E.W. Scripps Company in 1990. He served the company’s newspaper division for 38 years, finishing his long and successful run as assistant general editorial manager, a position that allowed him to influence the quality of news content across the country. 

“A self-described ‘newspaper man,’ David was known throughout the company for his love of the craft – and his trademark bow ties,” said Rich Boehne, Scripps president and CEO. “Saying, ‘The sun never sets on curiosity,’ he always pushed reporters – including me in my early career - to keep asking the right questions.” 

The New York City native spent two years at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, dropping out to follow his parents’ footsteps. His father, mother and stepfather all had careers in the newspaper business. Eventually, his daughter, Mary Stolberg, took the same career path. 

After serving as a reporter and city editor of The Arlington (Va.) Daily, Stolberg joined an experimental Army public information program. 

He landed in Korea just after the Inchon invasion in September 1950. As an Army war correspondent, he escorted Joe DiMaggio to the front lines, and wrote of America’s first-ever wartime occupation of an enemy capital (Pyongyang), the entry into the war by the Chinese and America’s subsequent departure. 

When discharged in 1952, Stolberg landed a job at Scripps’ Rocky Mountain News in Denver. He won honors for exposing a nepotism scandal in the federal bankruptcy court, which led to national reforms. He was named city editor in 1962, and got a taste of foreign correspondence on special assignments in Canada, Germany, Portugal and Spain, and Sweden, where he covered the Nobel ceremonies. 

Jack Howard, then president and general editorial manager of Scripps Howard, transferred Stolberg to The Washington Daily News as managing editor in 1968, the same year he was appointed to the Scripps Howard Foundation board. He later served as the foundation’s vice president.

While in Washington, he was elected secretary of the National Press Club, and led the committee that organized the club’s prestigious weekly speaker series.

In 1975, he joined the corporate office as assistant general editorial manager of the Scripps newspapers. He moved to the Greater Cincinnati area when the company’s corporate offices moved from New York in 1977.  

Stolberg founded the Society of Environmental Journalism, which now has an international offspring, for which he was designated Honorary Member No. 0001, and in whose name the society annually honors outstanding service to environmental journalism.

After retirement, he became active in his Northern Kentucky community, in regional heritage, civic and religious outreach activities, and was honored as an outstanding citizen by the Friends of Covington.

He spent his last years in Southington, Conn., where he was active in the governance of Spring Lake Village and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Stolberg is survived by his wife, Laura Papallo, whom he married in 1997, and his daughter, Mary Stolberg.

About Scripps

The E.W. Scripps Company is a diverse media enterprise with interests in television stations, newspapers, local news and information Web sites, and licensing and syndication. For a full listing of Scripps media companies and their associated Web sites, visit http://www.scripps.com/.

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