Postmaster General Dedicates Stamps, Celebrates National Press Club Centennial
WASHINGTON, DC — They broke barriers, influenced nations, changed American history and played their lives on an international stage.
Five ground-breaking, distinguished reporters were honored today, their work and legacy commemorated by the U.S. Postal Service, as Postmaster General John Potter dedicated the “American Journalists” stamps:
- Ruben Salazar, the first Mexican-American journalist to have a major voice in mainstream media, whose work chronicled the evolution of Mexican-American politics.
- Martha Gellhorn, a ground-breaking war correspondent who covered the Spanish Civil War, World War II, and the Vietnam War.
- John Hersey, whose most famous work documented the story of Hiroshima; the book was named the top work of journalism of the 20th century by New York University.
- George Polk, a CBS radio correspondent who filed hard-hitting reports on the civil strife in Greece in the aftermath of World War II.
- Eric Sevareid, broadcast journalist, commentator and writer, whose work influenced a generation of reporters.
“These stamps recognize the contributions of American journalists to the betterment of American society, who exposed and explored the people, processes, challenges and accomplishments of a country, its people and its role in the world,” Potter said.
Working in radio, television or print, they reported, often at great personal sacrifice, some of the most important stories of the 20th century. They were drawn to hot spots, and their description of conflicts and issues helped people respond more intelligently to events.
Potter was joined by esteemed journalists who spoke on behalf of the reporters commemorated on the stamps: Eleanor Clift, contributing editor at Newsweek and a panelist on “The McLaughlin Group”; Frank Sotomayor, Pulitzer Prize winner and associate director of USC’s Annenberg Institute for Justice and Journalism; Daniel Zwerding, Peabody Award recipient for NPR; Jeff Price, foreign correspondent and cousin of George Polk; and Bob Schieffer, anchor of “Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer” and CBS News chief Washington correspondent.
The stamps were dedicated at the National Press Club in recognition of the club’s Centennial Celebration. Donna Leinwand, National Press Club vice president, acknowledged the sacrifices made by journalists, many of who lost their lives covering conflicts around the world and in cities across America.
“The distinguished journalists honored on these stamps deserve this place in American history for having shown great courage in the pursuit of truth,” Leinwand said.
The stamps feature a photo of each journalist and a few lines of types that are meant to suggest newspaper print headlines of articles by or about each reporter. Art director Howard Paine worked with designer Fred Otnes of West Redding, CT, to create the stamp art. The abstract backgrounds were meant to imply the “wordliness” of the subjects, without referring to specific events.
The Postal Service previously has issued stamps honoring other journalists, including Edward R. Murrow, Ernie Pyle, Walter Lippman, Henry Luce, Nellie Bly, Ida May Tarbell, Ethel L. Payne, Marguerite Higgins and publishers Adolph S. Ochs, Henry Luce and Joseph Pulitzer.