One of the longest standing members of the OPC, Bob Gibson, known for shaping foreign coverage at the Los Angeles Times, died on June 22 at the age of 89. He had been an OPC member since 1957.
Gibson began his career in foreign news covering the Korean War at the age of 22. A story about Gibson in the Times said that publisher Otis Chandler assigned Gibson to build up the paper’s scant staff in international bureaus.
Gibson grew up in St. Louis, and his family moved to San Marino, California. He studied journalism and political science at Stanford University, graduating in 1950. He landed his first job in Honolulu as correspondent for United Press Associations, which later became United Press International (UPI), and was soon sent to cover the Korean War. He was drafted into the Army at 26 and served as public information officer. Gibson later worked for McGraw-Hill’s news service in London and served as correspondent in Moscow, where he declined an offer from the Russian government to become a spy.
Gibson moved to Los Angeles and began working at the Times in 1964, and soon ascended to helm the foreign desk.
A Times piece said that Gibson “cut a formidable figure in the newsroom,” at the Times, at a height of 6 foot 4 inches tall, “an image that belied his compassion for reporters and knack for magic tricks.”
Gibson took a buyout in 1991, and during retirement he and his wife Esmerelda Gibson both secured memberships as magicians at the exclusive Magic Castle in Hollywood.