Bob Greene (1929-2008)

In 1976-77, veteran newsman Robert W. (Bob) Greene led a team of 34 reporters — representing a broad spectrum of the nation's media outlets — in a six-month probe of the circumstances surrounding the murder of Arizona organized-crime reporter Don Bolles. In awarding the "Arizona Project" its gold medal, the American Society of Journalists and Authors called it "the finest hour in American journalism." A decade earlier (1967), Greene founded the nation's first permanent newspaper investigative team at Newsday, and led the unit to two Pulitzer gold medals. He retired as assistant managing editor in 1993, and then spent seven years chairing and revitalizing the journalism department at Hofstra University.

Before Newsday, Greene was a senior staffer at the NYC Anti-Crime Committee (1951-55), where he investigated waterfront crime with the late Rev. John Corridan (popularized in "On The Waterfront") and was first to track the mob ties of Teamster Jimmy Hoffa. In 1957-58, Greene was an investigator on the U.S. Senate labor rackets committee, where he worked closely with late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, and where he was one of the last persons attacked on the Senate floor by the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy. In the 1960s, Greene was the first reporter on the scene in Philadephia, Miss., hours after three civil rights workers were murdered. In 1970 he led Newsday's investigative team to a Pulitzer prize for stories on Long Island political corruption. Two years later, he was placed on Nixon's "enemies list" because of his Newsday team's probes into the President's business interests. (Nixon counsel John Dean testified that he initiated an IRS audit of Greene to teach him a "lesson.")

In 1973, a Greene-led news team traced drug rings in Turkey, Bulgaria and France for a series (later the book "The Heroin Trail") that won Newsday another Pulitzer. In the 1980s, he anchored the first TV news show produced by a U.S. newspaper and broadcast from the city room. Individually or as team leader, Greene received more than 45 other journalism awards and honors. He testified as an expert witness on media ethics and organized crime, lectured at 89 colleges, and consulted on press issues and ethics for 20/20, Capital Cities, Prime Time Live and the Denver Post. Greene was a president and chairman of IRE, the author of "Stingman," the co-author of "Naked Came the Stranger," and before his death in 2008 he was at work on a new investigative book.

Paul Klebnikov
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