Newspaper columnist William Raspberry is a highly regarded journalist whose twice-weekly columns for The Washington Post are syndicated around the country. Born on October 12, 1935, in Okolona, Mississippi, Raspberry has won the respect and admiration of his media peers for his opinions and reporting.
Raspberry earned a B.S. degree from Indiana Central College in 1958, and from 1960 to 1962 worked in Washington, D.C., as a public information officer with the U.S. Army. After finishing his military service, Raspberry took a job with The Washington Post as a teletypist. Within a few months, he had moved up to writing obituary notices. Raspberry later joined the paper’s city desk, first as a reporter and later as an assistant editor.
In 1966, Raspberry took over The Washington Post’s “Potomac Watch” column, which concerned local issues. During his tenure, Raspberry molded the column to fit his own interests, which included such topics as drug abuse, criminal justice and minority issues. Independent in tone, neither liberal nor conservative in philosophy, Raspberry consistently wrote on the importance of human responsibility and self-esteem.
Raspberry’s columns have earned him numerous awards and much praise, particularly from his colleagues and peers. The Capitol Press Club named him Journalist of the Year for 1965 for his reporting on the Watts Riot in Los Angeles. A longtime member of the Pulitzer Prize Board, Raspberry was nominated for journalism’s highest honor in 1982. He finally won the award in 1994 for Distinguished Commentary.
In 1991, Raspberry published Looking Backward at Us, a book of columns that touch on the themes of education, poverty, drugs, racism and parenting. Raspberry has also taught journalism at Howard University, and is a frequent panelist on television talk shows. He resides in Washington, D.C.
William Raspberry passed away on July 17, 2012.