Media News

Navasky, leader of The Nation magazine, dies at 90

January 31, 2023

Posted by Mariam Ahmed

The following excerpt was sent out from The New York TimesJoseph Berger:

Victor S. Navasky (Columbia Journalism School/Google Images)

Victor S. Navasky, a witty and contrarian journalist who for 27 years as either editor or publisher commanded the long-running left-leaning magazine The Nation, and who also wrote the book “Naming Names,” a breakthrough chronicle of the Hollywood blacklisting era, died on Monday in Manhattan. He was 90.

His death, in a hospital, was caused by pneumonia, his son, Bruno, said. Mr. Navasky had homes on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and in Hillsdale, N.Y.

When he was named editor in 1978, Mr. Navasky introduced a droll sensibility that leavened the magazine’s sometimes too-earnest prose.

Mr. Navasky also provided a forum for feminist voices, like those of Katha Pollitt and Katrina vanden Heuvel, who succeeded him as editor in 1995 when he led a group of investors in buying the magazine and became its publisher. He stepped down as publisher in 2005, succeeded by Ms. Vanden Heuvel.

Mr. Navasky offered a sense of his editorial approach in an interview with The Brooklyn Rail in 2002.

“I think it was Walter Cronkite who used to end his nightly newscasts by saying, ‘That’s the way it is.’ Well, I wanted to put out a magazine which would say: ‘That’s not the way it is at all. Let’s take another look.’”

Mr. Navasky’s wry iconoclasm started early. While at Yale Law School, he and a friend founded a satirical magazine, Monocle, and a few years later tried to make a go of publishing it in New York City as a free-standing “leisurely quarterly,” which Mr. Navasky said meant it came out twice a year.

Victor attended the Rudolph Steiner School, then the Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School in Greenwich Village, both popular with families on the bohemian left. He received a bachelor’s degree in 1954 from Swarthmore College and served two years in the Army, working as a medic outside Anchorage and writing for and editing his regimental newsletter. Afterward, he attended Yale Law School on the G.I. Bill, graduating in 1959.

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