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Colleagues celebrate lasting legacy of former Globe editor Tom Winship at scholarship launch

Boston Globe CEO Linda Henry spoke to Globe journalist Stan Grossfeld after an event celebrating the establishment of the Tom Winship Journalism Scholarship at Northeastern University.Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

Many of the most prominent Boston journalists of generations past gathered Tuesday to celebrate former Boston Globe editor Tom Winship and his legacy of breaking down barriers in newsrooms as Northeastern University announced a journalism scholarship in Winship’s name intended to increase diversity in the industry.

Winship led the Globe from 1965 to 1984, through the Vietnam War, the desegregation of Boston Public Schools, and the newspaper’s first dozen Pulitzer Prizes. He was an early advocate for diversity in the newsroom, former Globe colleagues recalled at the packed event inside Northeastern’s Egan Research Center. Winship was widely and passionately credited with lifting the Globe into the upper echelons of American journalism.


“He was an activist editor,” said Jonathan Kaufman, director of Northeastern’s School of Journalism, who began his career at the Globe under Winship. “He created the Spotlight Team. He led the Globe’s coverage of desegregation during the busing crisis of the 1970s. . . . He pioneered coverage of the women’s movement. And he also made the first real efforts to bring diversity to the Globe newsroom, hiring minority journalists, journalists of color, as well as women.”

Former Globe editor Matt Storin and former columnist Jack Thomas began the work of establishing a scholarship honoring Winship last year, and they soon had the support of leaders at the Globe and Northeastern, Storin said.

Storin said many former Globe journalists contributed to the scholarship fund, as did the Taylor family, which owned the paper during Winship’s tenure, demonstrating the wide admiration Winship still inspires.

“To me, the essential facts about him were his love of newspapers, his love particularly of the Globe, and his love of life,” Storin said. “He was a very powerful figure in Boston, but he carried that power lightly. He was a charismatic figure, but rarely if ever intimidating.”


Former Boston Globe editor Matt Storin spoke at an event honoring Tom Winship.Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

Thomas, who worked under Winship for two decades, said he “loved him as an editor and a humanitarian,” and listed seven qualities he said made Winship distinctive.

“One was his passion for journalism and his hatred of corruption,” Thomas said. “His respect for justice, his courage, his willingness to take chances. A capacity to identify with those in need. And above all, his humanity.”

Winship, who died in 2002, also looked after his staff.

“When two Globe reporters were arrested for smoking pot, who was it who drove to New Hampshire to bail them out? It was Tom Winship,” Thomas said.

Jack Thomas spoke about Tom Winship at an event on Tuesday.Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

The Globe’s current editor, Brian McGrory, never worked under Winship but benefited from his mentorship as a young journalist, and he still feels Winship’s impact at the Globe, he said.

“He kept his mantras relatively simple, from everything I could see,” McGrory said. “Crusade for what you believe in. Be creative. Stretch boundaries. Be loyal to the institution, and love the city and the region.”

Supporters have raised $147,000 to establish the scholarship, and they expect the endowment to reach between $180,000 and $200,000 by the end of the year, according to Elizabeth Hudson, dean of the College of Arts, Media, and Design. The university will award the first Winship scholarship this fall, she said.

Students from Greater Boston, first-generation students, and students from underrepresented populations will be given preference for the scholarship, which will support undergraduate or graduate journalism students in financial need with funds for research, travel, and creative projects, the university said.


“As we try to do our part as a university to widen the pipeline and produce more students — especially students of color and first-generation students — we wanted to give them the same opportunities to build the clips and the portfolios that will get them hired at the Globe and elsewhere,” Kaufman said. “That’s what the Winship scholarship will be funding.”

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at Follow him @jeremycfox.