Jonathan Kwitny

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Jonathan Kwitny (March 23, 1941 - November 26, 1998) was an American writer and investigative journalist. He received the University of Missouri School of Journalism's honor medal for career achievement. His book jacket biographies record that his reporting forced J. Lynn Helms, chief of the Federal Aviation Administration, to resign, and dogged President Ronald Reagan's National Security Advisor Richard V. Allen for conflicts of interest.


He was born in Indianapolis on March 23, 1941 to Julia Goldberger Kwitny and Dr. I. J. Kwitny (president of the medical staff at St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital),[1] and graduated in 1962 from the University of Missouri's School of Journalism. He received a master's degree in history[1] in 1964 at New York University. His newspaper career began as a reporter for The Evening News (of Perth Amboy) between 1963 & 1969.[2] He was a former front page feature writer for the Wall Street Journal producing front-page columns and articles about national and international topics; he joined the Journal in 1971 and worked there for the next seventeen years. He stayed with The Journal until his move to PBS in 1988. More recently, he worked for the Gannett Company guiding Trenton coverage for its New Jersey papers. He also served as a consultant on Pope John Paul II for NBC Nightly News. Kwitny also had in the 1980s a PBS series entitled The Kwitny Report which during its four-year run won the George Polk award (in 1990[3]) for best investigative reporting on television.

He is also the author of a number of non-fiction books. His fifth book (Endless Enemies) received a Pulitzer Prize nomination.[citation needed]

He was married in 4 September 1993 under Catholic rites[4] to a then-Methodist poet Wendy Wood Kwitny (his second marriage; his first wife, Martha Kaplan Kwitny, had previously died of long-term kidney disease at the age of 33), Kwitny devoted some years to completing his biography of Pope John Paul II, which he began in 1992. When John Paul met him and his family in the Vatican for a private audience in 1998, the Pope's first comment to him was, "I have read your book." [5]


He died in 1998 of esophageal stomach cancer[6] in Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center,[7] aged 57.[8] "He was survived by his second wife and their two sons and two daughters from his first marriage. His first wife died in 1978."

Partial bibliography[edit]


  1. ^ a b NY Times, 1993
  2. ^ Two of those years were spent as a volunteer in Nigeria for the Peace Corps.
  3. ^ "A decade ago, Mr. Kwitny and a producer, Tom Naughton, created The Kwitny Report for the Public Broadcasting System. Backed by a team of reporters, Mr. Kwitny wrote and narrated the weekly national half-hour news program, which won a George Polk Award for investigative reporting in 1990." Saxon, 1998
  4. ^ "The Rev. Blase Bonpane, a Roman Catholic priest, officiated at the couple's home." NY Times, 1993
  5. ^ Kwitny, Jonathan. "My Visit With the Pope". Slate Magazine. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  6. ^ "The cause was stomach cancer diagnosed in July, said a friend, a fellow writer Anthony Scaduto." Saxon, 1998
  7. ^ "Jonathan Kwitny, a journalist and author whose subjects were as varied as Mafia forays into board rooms and papal biography, died on Thursday at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He was 57 and lived in Cuddebackville, New York, and Manhattan." Saxon, 1998.
  8. ^ See NY Times obituary title.
  • "Jonathan Kwitny, 57, Author And Prize-Winning Reporter", Wolfgang Saxon. New York Times. (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N.Y.: Nov 28, 1998. pg. C.16
  • "WEDDINGS; Jonathan Kwitny, Wendy Hood"; New York Times. (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N.Y.: Sep 5, 1993. pg. A.11

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