Harry M. Rosenfeld

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Harry M. Rosenfeld
Born (1929-08-12) August 12, 1929 (age 89)
OccupationNewspaper Editor
Spouse(s)Anne Hahn (m. 1953)

Harry M. Rosenfeld (born August 12, 1929) is an American newspaper editor who was the editor in charge of local news at The Washington Post during the Richard Mattingly murder case[1] and the Watergate scandal. He oversaw the newspaper's coverage of Watergate and resisted efforts by the paper's national reporters to take over the story. Though Post editor-in-chief Benjamin C. Bradlee gets most of the credit, managing editor Howard Simons and Rosenfeld worked most closely with reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein on developing the story. Rosenfeld published a memoir including an account of his work at the Post in 2013.


Rosenfeld was born in Berlin but his Jewish family fled Nazi Germany when he was ten. The family settled in The Bronx, New York City and Rosenfeld learned to speak English devoid of a German accent. After graduating from Syracuse University, Rosenfeld was hired as an editor at New York Herald-Tribune. When it ceased publication circa 1967, Rosenfeld went to the Post.

Rosenfeld originally served as night foreign editor. When he moved to the metropolitan desk, he hired Woodward, who had just been discharged from the United States Navy and had no experience in journalism, on a three-week trial in August 1970. When the trial was up, Woodward had written seventeen stories, not one of which was deemed publishable. Rosenfeld told Woodward to get some experience elsewhere and come back in a year. Woodward frequently scooped the Post at his new paper, the Montgomery County Sentinel, in the Washington suburbs, and kept phoning Rosenfeld for a job. Rosenfeld hired him, starting September 15, 1971.

Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham in her memoirs describes him as "an old-style, tough, picturesque editor, and another real hero of Watergate for us. From the outset, he thought of the story as a very big local one, seeing it as something on which the Post's local staff could distinguish itself. He controlled the story before it regularly made page one of the paper, keeping it going on the front page of the metro section." Rosenfeld's control produced, in his words, "the longest-running newspaper stories with the least amount of errors that I have ever experienced or will ever experience."

Woodward and Bernstein in their account of the Watergate investigation, All the President's Men, wrote Rosenfeld was "like a football coach. He prods his players . . . pleading, yelling, cajoling."

In 1978, Rosenfeld moved to Albany, New York and became editor of the Times Union and the now-defunct Knickerbocker News. He retired in 1996, becoming the Times Union's editor-at-large. Rosenfeld writes a weekly column for that paper which is published by other papers in the Hearst chain. He resides in Albany with his wife, Anne Hahn.[2]

In the 1976 film All the President's Men, Rosenfeld was played by Jack Warden.

In 2013, Rosenfeld wrote From Kristallnacht to Watergate: Memoirs of a Newspaper Man, a memoir of his childhood in 1930s Berlin under Nazi rule and his career path from the New York Herald-Tribune to the Washington Post.


  1. ^ ["Er hatte den Ruf eines harten Hundes" by Andreas Mink, in Neue Zürcher Zeitung Nr. 293, Dienstag, 17. Dezember 2013, page 50]
  2. ^ Harry Rosenfeld Biography Page
  • Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. All the President's Men. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974. (ISBN 0-671-21781-X)
  • Katharine Graham. Personal History. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997. ISBN 0-394-58585-2.
  • Adrian Havill. Deep Truth: The Lives of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. New York: Birch Lane Press, 1993. ISBN 1-55972-172-3
  • Rosenfeld, Harry. From Kristallnacht to Watergate: Memoirs of a Newspaper Man. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2013. ISBN 9781438449173

External links[edit]