David Broder, 1929-2011

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 9 2011 1:04 PM

David Broder, 1929-2011

Last September, I traveled to Delaware to interview Rep. Mike Castle and his challenger, Christine O'Donnell, about a soon-to-be-infamous primary election. Castle and I talked for a long while he shook hands with voters outside the Arden Fair.

"This is becoming a pretty big deal," Castle said. "You just missed David Broder. He came up here to interview me about the race."


Broder, at that point, was about to turn 81 years old. He hadn't just beaten me to the story, he'd beaten me by a month, traveling up to Delaware to interview Castle and introduce readers to Chris Coons, a "worthy match" who could actually win. After Castle lost the primary, the political press -- myself included, reluctantly -- spent countless pixels covering O'Donnell. But Coons won. If you had read Broder's reporting, you would have expected that.

I can think of nothing more satisfying than doing what you love, doing it well, and making your readers more informed about the world because of the information you're gathering. I'm deeply grateful to Broder for doing that for so many people over such a long time.

Here is the statement from the Washington Post and the Broder family.


We're very sorry to report thatDavid Broder died on March 09, 2011, surrounded by his family. The nationknew David as one of the great political reporters of his era. Here atthe Post we knew him as one of the finest of colleagues.

His arrival in 1966, engineeredby Ben Bradlee early in Ben's tenure as executive editor, in many waysmarked the beginning of the Post's evolution into a great newspaper. Inthe decades since, David's integrity, fairness, wisdom and curiosity servedas a model for us all. But in the newsroom, just as on his dogged reportingtrips around the country, David always behaved as though he had more tolearn than to teach. Whether in the cafeteria or at the National desk,he wanted always to hear what his colleagues were hearing. At the sametime, he was as generous with the tidbits he had picked up as he was withhis praise, suggestions and encouragement. He will be greatly missed; hecertainly can never be replaced.

We will let you know when we knowmore about memorial service arrangements.  The family has asked thatin lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Arena Stage, the NationalSymphony Orchestra, or the Capital Area Food Bank.

Katharine, Marcus and Fred

                 Family Statement on David Broder’s Life

David Broder died on March 09,2011, at the age of 81.  He lived a full life with abundant blessings,both personal and professional.

The list of people and organizationsto which David was grateful is rich and varied. His reporting colleaguesand friends were a deep source of enjoyment for him. To name all of themis impossible.  However, we would especially like to thank the WashingtonPost Company, the Washington Post Writers Group, Washington Post CompanyChairman Don Graham, and former Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee for theirextraordinary roles in David’s life over many decades. The late KatharineGraham also held a special place in David’s heart for her friendship andher commitment to first-rate journalism.

David was a kind and generous spiritthroughout his life. One of the ways in which he gave of himself was throughhis university and graduate school teaching at Harvard, Duke, and the Universityof Maryland. He loved his students, and never tired of their company. Additionally,David and Ann Broder created the Ann C. and David S. Broder ProfessorshipFund at the University of Chicago, their joint alma mater.

David spent his professional lifewith political leaders at all levels of society, from precinct captainsto Presidents, on Capitol Hill, and in State Houses and City Halls in allfifty states.  His greatest admiration and respect were always forthe voters themselves, who would answer a knock on their door, let himinto their homes, and share their observations on the issues of the day. Their passion for this country and its possibilities mirrored hisown. To the countless thousands who, since 1953, inspired his curiosityand informed his reporting, we offer our thanks.

In lieu of flowers, donations maybe made to the Arena Stage, the National Symphony Orchestra, or the CapitalArea Food Bank.

We will hold a memorial servicethis spring in Washington DC to commemorate David’s life, and will announcedetails soon.

The Broder Family
March 09, 2011  

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



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