Sidney E. Zion (November 14, 1933, Passaic, NJ – August 2, 2009, Brooklyn) was an American writer. His works include Markers, Begin from Beginning, Read All about It, Trust Your Mother but Cut the Cards, (collections of his columns), Loyalty and Betrayal: The Story of the American Mob and Markers (a novel). He co-authored The Autobiography of Roy Cohn. He also was a co-founder and co-editor of Scanlan's Monthly magazine.
Zion graduated from University of Pennsylvania and Yale Law School, working as a trial lawyer until becoming Assistant US Attorney for New Jersey in 1961. He then turned to journalism and writing novels. He worked for various New York publications, including the New York Times, The New York Daily News, the New York Post and New York Magazine. In 1971, after having been fired by the New York Times, Mr. Zion revealed the identity of Daniel Ellsberg as the source of the Pentagon Papers, the classified study detailing Washington deceit in Vietnam, then being published by The Times and The Washington Post. Although he was angry and tried to get back at the Times it is not clear why he thought revealing the name of a whistle blower and endangering him would help his cause. Many journalists regarded the disclosure as a breach of professional ethics, and Mr. Zion said he was a pariah among colleagues for a time.
He was a recipient of the Ben Hecht Journalism Award. He married Elsa H. Zion, and their daughter, Libby Zion died age 18 in New York Hospital. Her death and the subsequent investigation and trial led to improvements in hospital resident working conditions. Zion died in 2009 after a brief battle with cancer.
Mr. Zion was a Zionist and Jew who believed very strongly in the state of Israel. He made several trips there as a journalist and was a friend of many in the conservative government. He was a devout Jew in his private life.
Mr. Zion served on the Board of Directors (as well as council) of The Players in New York City, fighting the anti-smoking laws forced upon private clubs during the Bloomberg Administration, believing those laws to be unconstitutional. He was also a member of the Yale Club.
- McFadden, Robert D. (August 3, 2009). "Sidney Zion, Writer Who Crusaded to Reduce Doctors' Hours, Dies at 75". The New York Times.
- "Libby Zion". New York Times. March 6, 1984.
Libby Zion, a freshman at Bennington College in Vermont and the daughter of the writer and lawyer Sidney E. Zion and his wife, Elsa, died of cardiac arrest yesterday at New York Hospital after a brief illness. She was 18 years old and lived with her parents in Manhattan. Miss Zion, who had worked recently for the Manhattan Borough President, Andrew J. Stein, as part of a study project and was to have been employed next summer on the clerical staff of The New York Times, became ill several days ago with a flu-like ailment. The cause of the cardiac arrest was not immediately determined. Her father, a former reporter for The Times and former publisher of Scanlan's Magazine, is the author of Read All About It. Her mother is a former publishing executive. Besides her parents, Miss Zion is survived by two brothers, Adam and Jed.
- "Elsa Zion, 70; Helped Cut Doctor Workloads". New York Times. March 5, 2005.
Elsa H. Zion, a city official and former publishing executive who campaigned successfully to regulate the workload of interns and residents in New York State's hospitals after the highly publicized death of her daughter, Libby, in 1984, died on Thursday at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. She was 70 and lived in Manhattan. The cause was complications of breast cancer, said her husband, the journalist Sidney Zion.
- Furse, Jane H. (August 3, 2009). "New York journalist Sidney Zion dies". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
Sidney Zion, a crusading journalist who turned the tragic loss of his daughter into a cause célèbre that led to far-reaching reforms in how hospitals train young doctors, died Sunday. He was 75. He'd spent his last days being treated for cancer under hospice care in Brooklyn, said his son Jed Zion. "He certainly did it his way," his son said. "I just want to remember him as somebody who lived better than anybody I know, who never did anything he didn't want to do. It's sad, but he had a damn good run." That death was the basis of the NBC pilot for Law & Order.
- Zion v. NY Hospital
- Washington Post report
- "Deadlines at dawn: The many lives of Sidney Zion," Thrive, February 2007