People Remembered: Richard Pyle

The OPC is deeply saddened that renowned Associated Press reporter Richard Pyle died on Sept. 28 at the age of 83.

The AP has reported that Pyle died at a hospital of respiratory failure due to lung fibrosis and obstructive lung disease, according to his wife, actress-writer Brenda Smiley.

His career spanned 49 years, including top stories such as the presidency of John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War, the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, revolution in the Philippines and the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center’s twin towers. He covered Vietnam from 1968 to 1973, serving as Saigon bureau chief for the last few years of his tenure there.

AP’s executive editor, Sally Buzbee, told the wire agency that Pyle maintained “his passion for great stories and never lost his insistence on strong, probing journalism.”

“Years after he had retired, he buttonholed me at an event, wanting to know: ‘Were we committed to the journalism? Were we keeping AP focused on strong reporting? Were we screwing it up?’ It’s people like Pyle who are the conscience of a news organization like The Associated Press,” the AP quoted Buzbee as saying.

He was the author of the 1991 book Schwarzkopf, on the 1991 Gulf War commander H. Norman Schwarzkopf, and co-author of Breaking News: How the Associated Press Has Covered War, Peace, and Everything Else,” a history of the AP published in 2007. He retired in 2009.

Watch a video remembrance from the AP in the window below.