Heywood Broun

b. 7 Dec 1888, Brooklyn, NY .... d. 18 Dec 1939, New York, NY

Journalist; labor organizer; founder of the Newspaper Guild

From 1912 until his death in 1939, Heywood Broun was an immensely popular newspaper columnist, writing news, commentary, sports and literary criticism for a number of New York newspapers and wire services. Married to feminist writer Ruth Hale, Broun believed that journalists had both the power and the responsibility to combat social injustices. His crusading articles often championed the causes of working people, and railed against bigotry and racial prejudice. Hoping to improve journalists’ working conditions, pay and sense of professional dignity, Broun founded the first union for journalists in 1933. The American Newspaper Guild’s first actions included publishing a journalistic code of ethics and a strong statement on the integrity of the press. The code calls journalism a “social responsibility,” and declares that press freedom is a right belonging to the reading public, not a privilege to be exploited by media owners.

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey