Joel Brinkley, 1952-2014

Joel Brinkley

Joel Brinkley

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Joel Brinkley — a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and serving on its board as scholarship chair — died Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at a Washington hospital. He was suffering from previously undiagnosed leukemia.

His death was announced today, Thursday.

One report of his passing is from the Courier-Journal in Lousiville, Ky., where he earned the 1980 Pulitzer for international reporting along with C-J photographer Jay Mather for their series, “Living the Cambodian Nightmare,” about refugees displaced after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime — and a Kentucky doctor trying to help them, according to the article, “Joel Brinkley, Pulitzer Winning Courier-Journal Reporter, Dies at 61.”

Joel went on to work for The New York Times, where after several years of honored reporting, he became a columnist focusing on foreign affairs.  The Times obituary on Joel is here: “Joel Brinkley, a Times Washington and Mideast Reporter, Dies at 61.”

Joel left the Times in 2006 to teach journalism at Stanford University, where he continued his syndicated column. This past January he became a tactical adviser to the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, in the Department of Defense.

Survivors include his wife, Sabra Chartrand, two daughters, Veronica and Charlotte; two brothers, Alan and John, a sister, Alexis Collins, and stepmother, Susan Brinkley. His mother, Ann Brinkley, died in 1996. His father, NBC news anchor David Brinkley, died in 2003.

The NSNC scholarship contest, which Joel ran, will continue, and its March 15 deadline will remain. Joel was helping coordinate the NSNC conference June 26-29 in Washington, and that event will proceed.

This post will be updated.

Update 3/14/14: Here is the link to the funeral home’s information. In brief, the service will be in Washington on Saturday afternoon, March 15. The family requests memorial donations be made to Sidwell Friends School, 3825 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20016.

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  5 comments for “Joel Brinkley, 1952-2014

  1. March 16, 2014 at 1:23 am

    Past his professional acumen – which is well documented – Joel was just as fine a human being as you could find. This news saddened me deeply for his family, and for so much future promise he will now regrettably never realize. And that’s a loss for the rest of us.

  2. LJ Anderson
    March 14, 2014 at 10:03 am

    What tragic news. I can hardly believe it. He was such a kind, brilliant, and unassuming man. My heart goes out to his wife and children.

  3. March 14, 2014 at 7:52 am

    I am sad beyond words. After he let me feature him in my new book, The Art of Opinion Writing, we became closer friends. Such a humble, accomplished man. Did you know he was only one of five foreign affairs op-ed columnists in the country? I learned so much from him, and he was a gentle and encouraging soul. I was looking forward to seeing him again in Washington, and now I will really treasure my memories of him in Hartford. A great man and a great writer. It’s what he lived to do.

  4. Kathy Eliscu
    March 13, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    What a tragedy. Joel was such a wonderful, talented, brilliant and lovely man. My husband and I so enjoyed meeting and talking with him at the last NSNC conference, and post-conference communications. We have all really lost an amazing human being. So sad.

  5. March 13, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Heart-breaking. He was a brilliant, nice, man.

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