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John Carroll, Former Editor of LA Times, Baltimore Sun, Dies at 73

by Associated Press /  / Updated 
IMAGE: John S. Carroll, Dean Baquet
Los Angeles Times editor John Carroll, left, announced his retirement in July 2005 as managing editor Dean Baquet looked on.in the paper's newsroom in downtown Los Angeles.Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via AP file

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LEXINGTON, Kentucky — John S. Carroll, former editor of The Baltimore Sun and the Los Angeles Times, which won 13 Pulitzer Prizes during his five-year tenure, has died. He was 73.

Carroll died Sunday morning at his home in Lexington, where he was once editor of Tthe Lexington Herald-Leader, said his wife, Lee Carroll. He had been suffering from Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a rare and debilitating neurological disorder.

Carroll was editor and senior vice president at The Baltimore Sun from 1991 until 2000, when he took the head position at the Times that would become his last journalism job in a career spanning 40 years.

His years at the Times were considered a high point in the paper's recent history, and he and his managing editor, Dean Baquet, were given credit for reviving newsroom morale after a 1999 issue of the paper's Sunday magazine whose revenue-sharing agreement with the new downtown Staples Center arena became an ethical crisis and source of discord.

The paper's 13 Pulitzers during Carroll's five years came after it won just eight in the 1990s.

IMAGE: John S. Carroll, Dean Baquet
Los Angeles Times editor John Carroll, left, announced his retirement in July 2005 as managing editor Dean Baquet looked on.in the paper's newsroom in downtown Los Angeles.Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via AP file

Carroll's departure came amid increasing tensions over newsroom budget cuts and the paper's direction with its corporate owner, the Tribune Co.

He received a standing ovation from the staff when he announced his resignation, and the Times' then-publisher, Jeff Johnson, told The Associated Press that Carroll left behind an "extraordinary legacy of journalistic excellence."

Born in New York and raised in North Carolina and Washington, D.C., Carroll graduated from Haverford College in Pennsylvania in 1963 and took his first job as a reporter for the Providence Journal in Rhode Island.

He served two years in the Army and in 1966 went to work as a reporter for the Sun, where he covered the Vietnam War and the Nixon White House.

Carroll shifted to editor with a move to The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1973. He was hired by editor Gene Roberts, who successfully sought to transform that paper into a major force in journalism in the 1970s.

Carroll moved to Lexington in 1979, becoming editor of the Lexington Herald, which later became the Herald-Leader.

While there, he oversaw an investigative series titled "Cheating Our Children," focusing on the flaws in Kentucky's public education system and helping lead to a major series of legislative reforms in 1990.

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