Class of 1959B
During a newspaper career of almost 50 years, Stewart Kampel has been both a consummate practitioner of his craft as well as an advocate for aspiring reporters and editors. His introduction to journalism began at the College’s Baruch School with courses taught by the legendary Irving Rosenthal and as a staff member of The Ticker, where he eventually served as sports editor, columnist and editor-in-chief. In 2007, when The Ticker observed its 75th anniversary, Kampel called his time there “an extracurricular activity that led to my lifetime career in journalism.” He also said his colleagues on the paper “helped shape my political thinking, my social and intellectual experiences, and my career choices.”
Kampel was born on Jan. 19, 1938, raised in Brooklyn and was a student at Boys High School. While still at the College, where he majored in advertising, he applied for a job at The New York Times and was given a spelling test. He aced it and was hired as an office boy. Following commencement, he was accepted by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, and received his master’s degree in 1960. Next was a six-month stint in the Army before he returned to The Times.
In the 1970s, while an assistant to Arthur Gelb, then the newspaper’s metropolitan editor, Kampel helped direct coverage of two of the biggest stories of the decade: New York City’s fiscal crisis and the search for and capture of David (Son of Sam) Berkowitz, who had been terrorizing the city by engaging in a one-man crime spree that resulted in the deaths of six victims and the wounding of seven others. Kampel also held other posts with the metropolitan desk, including backfield and assignment editor, and in 1978 he was named editor of the weekly Long Island section.
During his 20 years as editor, he broadened the section’s cultural reach and introduced columns by Times writers like Richard Shepard and Gerald Eskenazi. He also expanded the paper’s coverage of a fledgling Long Island wine industry that would later swell to more than 30 wineries.
In addition to his work as a journalist, Kampel was just as influential as a teacher. He taught the basics of journalism for 16 years at the College and for 15 years at New York University. Among his students were such luminaries as Clyde Haberman and Joseph Berger of The Times; Jonathan Neumann, who would go on to win a Pulitzer Prize at The Philadelphia Inquirer; and scores of other reporters and editors who took their talents to major news organizations.
|In Ireland, flanked by statues of Oscar and Eduard Wilde.|
Kampel is the co-author of “Fly Without Fear,” a 1973 book he wrote with Nate Cott, an engineer who was afraid to fly and who founded a group to help others with the same problem.
Since his retirement from The Times in 2004, Kampel has been a freelance writer and editor. As a departmental editor of the second edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica, published in 2007, he wrote profiles of noted individuals in business and the arts and edited other entries. He also writes articles for Hadassah magazine’s print and online versions, ranging from reviews of cultural attractions to interviews with writers and artists. Kampel is a past president of the Communications Alumni Group.