John Seigenthaler

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John Seigenthaler
John Seigenthaler Sr. speaking.jpg
John Seigenthaler, speaking in Nashville in 2005
Born
John Lawrence Seigenthaler

(1927-07-27)July 27, 1927
DiedJuly 11, 2014(2014-07-11) (aged 86)
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Cause of deathProblems caused by colon cancer
OccupationJournalist, writer
Spouse(s)
Dolores Watson (m. 1955–2014)
(his death)
ChildrenJohn Michael Seigenthaler

John Lawrence Seigenthaler (/ˈsɡənθɔːlər/; July 27, 1927 – July 11, 2014) was an American journalist, writer, and political figure. He was known as an avid supporter of First Amendment rights.[1]

Career[change | change source]

Seigenthaler joined the Nashville newspaper The Tennessean in 1949. He resigned in 1960 to be Robert F. Kennedy's administrative assistant. He rejoined The Tennessean as editor in 1962. He became publisher in 1973. He became chairman in 1982. He retired as chairman emeritus in 1991. Seigenthaler was also founding editorial director of USA Today from 1982 to 1991.[2]

Wikipedia incident[change | change source]

On May 26, 2005, an unregistered Wikipedia user created a five-sentence biographical article about Seigenthaler that contained false and defamatory content.[3] The false statement in Seigenthaler's Wikipedia article read:[4]

John Seigenthaler Sr. was the assistant to Attorney General Robert Kennedy in the early 1960s. For a brief time, he was thought to have been directly involved in the Kennedy assassinations of both John, and his brother, Bobby. Nothing was ever proven.

When he found out about this, Seigenthaler directly talked to Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, who removed the false claims. As Seigenthaler later wrote: "For four months, Wikipedia depicted me as a suspected assassin before Wales erased it from his website's history" on October 5.[4]

Honors[change | change source]

In April 2014, the Shelby Street Bridge was renamed the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge in his honor.[5] While reporting for The Tennessean in the 1950s, Seigenthaler once prevented a suicidal man from jumping off the bridge.[6]

Death[change | change source]

Seigenthaler died of complications from colon cancer on July 11, 2014, at the age of 86. He was surrounded by his family in his home.[7][8]

References[change | change source]

  1. Dalby, Andrew (2009). The World and Wikipedia: How we are editing reality. Somerset: Siduri. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-9562052-0-9.
  2. Page, Susan (December 11, 2005). "Author apologizes for fake Wikipedia biography". USA Today. Archived from the original on January 3, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  3. Page, Susan (December 11, 2005). "Author apologizes for fake Wikipedia biography". USA Today. Archived from the original on January 3, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Seigenthaler, John (November 29, 2005). "A false Wikipedia 'biography'". USA Today. Archived from the original on November 28, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  5. Cass, Michael (April 29, 2014). "John Seigenthaler honored with renaming of bridge". The Tennessean. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  6. "Prominent editor, activist John Seigenthaler dies at 86". The Tennessean. Nashville: Gannett Company. July 12, 2014. Retrieved September 2, 2014.
  7. Schwartz, John (July 11, 2014). "John Seigenthaler, Editor and Aide to Politicians, Dies at 86". The New York Times.
  8. The Tennessean (11 July 2014). "Prominent editor, activist John Seigenthaler dies at 86". USA Today. Retrieved 11 July 2014.

Other websites[change | change source]