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Nathan Kingsley, Class of 1942

Nathan Kingsley, 80, a newspaperman, magazine editor, radio executive and government official, died of a heart ailment Oct. 24, 2007 at his Chevy Chase home.
Mr. Kingsley had been a reporter for a New York daily newspaper, managing editor of the International Herald Tribune in Paris, public affairs director for the State Department’s Bureau of Human Rights, a senior editor at a weekly newsmagazine and vice president of Radio Free Europe.

“My career supersedes the vice of journalism,” he once wrote, tongue firmly in cheek. “To paraphrase Kipling’s comment about England, those who only journalism know, know not journalism. I have, however, been a player with both chroniclers and chronicled.”

Starting in 1946, the New York native with a degree from City College became a reporter for the old New York Herald Tribune. He rose to managing editor for its news service and managing editor of the International Herald Tribune in Paris. He returned to New York in 1963 to be the Herald Tribune’s associate managing editor for two years.

In 1965, Mr. Kingsley became news director of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty for seven years; he returned in 1976 to be its vice president for an additional four years. He worked for six years in the late 1960s and early 1970s for CBS News and led coverage of the attack on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. That work won an Overseas Press Club award.

He joined Voice of America in late 1972 as deputy director for news and programming. The service was praised the following year for its fair coverage of the Watergate scandal.

“One can never be silent,” Mr. Kingsley told a Washington Post reporter. “This is particularly true when America appears in a bad light.”

Throughout his long career, he alternated among working for traditional news outlets, government organizations and private groups. He advocated for international exchange programs at the State Department, received a master’s degree in political science from Columbia University in 1977 and served as board chairman of Parkway Communications.

In 1980, he edited special projects at U.S. News and World Report newsmagazine. After four years, he switched to the Washington Times newspaper, where he was chief of correspondents for two years.

Back at the State Department, he was a senior officer in its bureau of human rights and humanitarian affairs from 1986 until 1991. He consulted and led a music education drive for the Music for the World Foundation. Most recently, he taught as an adjunct professor at George Washington University and the Institute of Experiential Learning, and as a professor at Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication in 1996 and 1997.

Mr. Kingsley was a Poynter fellow in journalism at Yale University in 1979 and a member of the Lansdowne Club, the National Press Club, the Overseas Press Club and the Federal City Club. He was an amateur radio broadcaster and an antique-book collector.

Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Cynthia Jean Kirkpatrick Kingsley of Chevy Chase; and a daughter, Alexandra Marjorie Jane Kingsley of Falls Church.

From the Washington Post, November 1, 2007