Victor Navasky

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Victor Navasky
Victor Saul Navasky

(1932-07-05)July 5, 1932
DiedJanuary 23, 2023(2023-01-23) (aged 90)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
EducationSwarthmore College (1954)
Yale Law School (1959)
Occupation(s)Journalist, publisher
Anne Strongin
(m. 1966)

Victor Saul Navasky (July 5, 1932 – January 23, 2023) was an American journalist, editor, and academic. He was publisher emeritus of The Nation and George T. Delacorte Professor Emeritus of Professional Practice in Magazine Journalism at Columbia University. He was editor of The Nation from 1978 until 1995 and its publisher and editorial director from 1995 to 2005. Navasky's book Naming Names (1980) is considered a definitive take on the Hollywood blacklist. For it he won a 1982 National Book Award for Nonfiction.[1][a]

He was awarded the I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence[2] by Harvard's Nieman Foundation in 2017.

Early life and education[edit]

Navasky was born on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the son of Esther (Goldberg) and Macy Navasky.[3][4] In 1946, when he was in the eighth grade, he helped to raise money for the Irgun Zvai Leumi — by passing a contribution basket at performances of Ben Hecht’s play, A Flag is Born.[5]

He was a graduate of Swarthmore College (1954), where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and received high honors in the social sciences. While serving in the United States Army from 1954 to 1956, he was stationed at Fort Richardson in Alaska. Following his discharge, he enrolled in Yale Law School on the G.I. Bill and received his LL.B. in 1959. While at Yale Law, he co-founded and edited the political satire magazine, Monocle.[6]


Before joining The Nation, Navasky was an editor at The New York Times Magazine.[7] He also wrote a monthly column about the publishing business ("In Cold Print") for the Times Book Review.[citation needed]

Navasky was named the editor of The Nation in 1978. In that forum, for many years, he was immortalized in Calvin Trillin's Uncivil Liberties column as "the wily and parsimonious Victor S. Navasky", or "The W. & P." for short.[citation needed]

Navasky was a supporter of alleged Soviet spy Alger Hiss, having published vociferous defences of the man's innocence in The Nation both during his lifetime and after.[8]

In 1994, while on a year's leave of absence from The Nation, he served first as a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School and then as a senior fellow at the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center at Columbia University. When he returned to The Nation, he led a group of investors in buying the magazine, and became its publisher.[citation needed]

Navasky also served as a Guggenheim fellow, a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, and Ferris Visiting Professor of Journalism at Princeton University. He taught at a number of colleges and universities and contributed articles and reviews to numerous magazines and journals of opinion.[citation needed]

In addition to his Nation responsibilities, Navasky was also director of the George T. Delacorte Center for Magazine Journalism at Columbia University, a member of the board of Independent Diplomat, and a regular commentator on the public radio program Marketplace.[citation needed]

In 2005, Navasky was named chairman of the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR). This appointment engendered some controversy; as Navasky's name did not appear on the masthead, critics on the political right saw this as hiding that, despite the magazine's purported lack of political bias, a "major left-wing polemicist is calling the shots at CJR without any mention on the masthead."[9]

In 2005, Navasky received the George Polk Book Award[10] given annually by Long Island University to honor contributions to journalistic integrity and investigative reporting. He served on the boards of the Authors Guild, International PEN, and the Committee to Protect Journalists.[citation needed]

In 2020, Navasky was appointed to the board of Defending Rights & Dissent.[11]

Personal life and death[edit]

Navasky married Anne Strongin in 1966. They had three children.[3] Navasky died from pneumonia at a hospital in Manhattan on January 23, 2023, at the age of 90.[3]


  • Kennedy Justice (Atheneum, 1971)
  • Naming Names (Viking, 1980); a book concerning the Hollywood blacklist
  • The Experts Speak: The Definitive Compendium of Authoritative Misinformation (with Christopher Cerf), 1984, 1998 (ISBN 0-679-77806-3)
  • A Matter of Opinion (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2005) (ISBN 0-374-29997-8)
  • Mission Accomplished! (or How We Won the War in Iraq), (with Christopher Cerf), 2008 (ISBN 1-4165-6993-6)
  • The Art of Controversy: Political Cartoons and Their Enduring Power, (Knopf 2013) (ISBN 978-0307957207)


Navasky was a publisher of magazines.[12]


  1. ^ This was the award for paperback "General Nonfiction".
    From 1980 to 1983 in National Book Awards history there were several nonfiction subcategories including General Nonfiction, with dual hardcover and paperback awards in most categories. Most of the paperback award-winners were reprints, including this one.


  1. ^ "National Book Awards – 1982". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  2. ^ "I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence".
  3. ^ a b c Berger, Joseph (January 24, 2023). "Victor S. Navasky, a Leading Liberal Voice in Journalism, Dies at 90". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  4. ^ Navasky, Victor S. (May 29, 2005). "'A Matter of Opinion'". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Victor Navasky, "El Sid," Tablet Magazine, August 12, 2009
  6. ^ "Richard Lingeman". Retrieved February 14, 2023.
  7. ^ Hamm, Theodore; Williams Cole (August–September 2002). "Victor Navasky: A Life on the Left". The Brooklyn Rail.
  8. ^ Victor Navasky, "The Case Not Proved Against Alger Hiss", The Nation , April 8, 1978, pp. 394, 396, 401.
  9. ^ Gershman, Jacob (June 2, 2005). "Nation Publisher Navasky Takes Reins of CJR". New York Sun. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  10. ^ "George Polk Awards for Journalism press release". Long Island University. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2006.
  11. ^ "Board of Directors". Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  12. ^ Katrina vanden Heuvel, "Remembering Victor Navasky (1932–2023) " The Nation Jan 26, 2023.

External links[edit]