W.M. Kiplinger Distinguished Contributions to Journalism Award
Clark Hoyt 2016
The NPF judges for the Kiplinger award said: “Clark Hoyt has been a steadfast champion of free, independent and responsible news media throughout his career at Knight Ridder, the New York Times and Bloomberg. Clark supported the Knight Ridder Washington Bureau’s critical coverage of the Bush administration’s case for invading Iraq in the face of sharp criticism and skepticism, even within some of his company’s own papers. Clark has won many awards for his work, from the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 to the John S. Knight Gold Medal, Knight Ridder’s highest employee award, in 2004. One of journalism’s toughest jobs is ombudsman, and Clark served as public editor of the Times with distinction. He is also an abiding supporter of journalism training, serving as one of the earliest NPF chairmen.”
Clark Hoyt has been a reporter, editor, Washington bureau chief, corporate news executive and news ombudsman during a journalism career that started half a century ago at The Ledger in Lakeland, Florida. His first assignment was to cover a Ku Klux Klan turkey shoot.
The majority of his career – 38 years – was at Knight Ridder, the nation’s second-largest newspaper company until its acquisition by McClatchy in 2006. He began at Knight Ridder at the Detroit Free Press as a general assignment reporter and then politics writer. In 1970, he became Washington correspondent for The Miami Herald and was later a national correspondent for Knight Ridder and news editor of the Washington bureau. He became business editor of the Free Press in 1978 and was managing editor of the Wichita (KS) Eagle-Beacon from 1981-85. He returned to Washington, where he was again news editor of the bureau and then bureau chief from 1987 to 1993. From 1993-99, he was Knight Ridder’s vice president/news, the company’s chief news officer. From ’99 until the sale to McClatchy, he was Washington editor, with responsibility for the Washington bureau and the editorial operations of Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services, a supplemental news service sold to media outlets around the world. It was during this period that Knight Ridder, almost alone among major news organizations, produced coverage calling into question the stated basis for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
In 1973, Hoyt shared the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting with Robert S. Boyd for their coverage of Democratic vice presidential nominee Thomas Eagleton’s history of treatment for severe depression. In 2004, Hoyt received the John S. Knight Gold Medal, Knight Ridder’s highest employee award. He is a member of the Gridiron Club, a past director of the foundation of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and a former chairman of the National Press Foundation.
After leaving Knight Ridder, Hoyt was public editor, or ombudsman, for The New York Times from 2007 to 2010, writing a weekly column dealing with issues readers raised about the paper’s coverage. In 2010, he joined Bloomberg News, where he was an editor at large in Washington and later senior adviser to the CEO and independent senior editor, or ombudsman.
Hoyt, a graduate of Columbia College, retired from Bloomberg in 2015. He lives in Great Falls, Virginia, with his wife, Linda Kauss, who recently retired as a deputy managing editor of USA Today, after 32 years at the paper.