rosenthal-am-newyorktimes

Canadian-born editor A.M. Rosenthal (in 1999 photo) was credited with reviving the New York Times. ((Courtesy of New York Times))

A.M. Rosenthal, one of the giantsin the world of journalism, has died.The Canadian-born editor, who is credited with leading the revival of the New York Times in the 1970s, was 84.

Abraham Michael Rosenthal was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., but grew up in poverty in the Bronx. Hedied Wednesday in New York,two weeks after suffering a stroke.

An obituary on the Times' website described Rosenthal as "brilliant, passionate, abrasive, a man of dark moods and mercurial temperament, he could coolly evaluate world developments one minute and humble a subordinate for an error in the next."

Rosenthal, who was called Abe, was credited with reviving the newspaper in the 1970s and setting it on its path to greatness.

"Abe was a giant among journalists," retired Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger said in a statement. "He was a great editor with extraordinary loyalty to his troops."

It was during Rosenthal's tenure that the Times published The Pentagon Papers, which chronicled America's secret involvement in the Vietnam War, but was also a milestone in the fourth estate's battle for freedom of the press, and a significant event in the doomed presidency of Richard M. Nixon.

Son of a Canadian trapper

Rosenthal was born on May 2, 1922.The only son of Harry and Sarah Dickstein Rosenthal, who had emigrated to Canada from Byelorussia in the 1890s, Rosenthalhad five sisters.

His father was a farmer and fur trapper in northern Ontario, but later moved his family to New York where he worked as a painter.

Rosenthalspent almost his entire working life at the Times. He began as a campus stringer in 1943, later working his way to police reporter, foreign correspondent, managing editor and finally to executive editor from 1977 to 1986.

He won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Poland in 1960. For his efforts, he was kicked out of the country. Poland's communist government said he was guilty of "probing too deeply."

After retiring, Rosenthal took up a twice weekly column in the newspaperthat was published for the next 13 years, until 1999.

His final exit from the newspaper was controversial.

Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of the Times, told him "it was time" to go. Rosenthal insisted it was never his idea to leave.