BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Jerry Ceppos, a distinguished news editor, executive and educator, whose career included leading Pulitzer Prize winning teams and two journalism schools, died Friday. He was 75.
The cause of death was sepsis brought on by a severe infection, according to an obituary approved by the family.
Ceppos rose to become the one-time vice president of news at Knight Ridder, one of the nation’s newspaper companies. Prior to that he worked at the San Jose Mercury News, serving as the paper’s managing editor, executive editor and senior vice president. The newspaper won two Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure.
In 2016, Ceppos was named a fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists, the society’s highest honor that recognizes “journalists who have made an extraordinary contribution to the profession.” He also won the organization’s Ethics in Journalism Award in 1997.
He served as dean of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada/Reno and as dean of the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University from 2011 to 2018.
“A relentless supporter of democracy, ethics and diversity, Jerry was a titan in the field of journalism and mass communication education over the course of 50-plus years,” the Manship School of Mass Communication posted in a statement announcing his death.
Under his leadership, the Manship School started a State house bureau staffed with student reporters, and he encouraged students to investigate unsolved Ku Klux Klan murders from the civil rights era. “Jerry knew that these programs would enable students to get professional clips and help them find jobs, and he loved that they brought more news to readers and helped struggling news sites survive,” said Christopher Drew, a Manship professor who directs the projects. “He saw them as a way to provide a public service and help keep this field that he loved so much alive.”
His most recent publication was editing the 2021 book, “Covering Politics in the Age of Trump,” a collection of essays by journalists.