James Reston

Biography of James Reston

James Barrett Reston (November 3, 1909 – December 6, 1995), nicknamed "Scotty," was an American journalist whose career spanned the mid 1930s to the early 1990s. He was associated for many years with The New York Times.

Reston was born in Clydebank, Scotland into a poor, devout Scottish-Presbyterian family that emigrated to the United States in 1920. He sailed with his mother and sister to New York as steerage passengers on board the SS Mobile and they were inspected at Ellis Island on September 28, 1920. After working briefly for the Springfield, Ohio Daily News, he joined the Associated Press in 1934. He moved to the London bureau of the New York Times in 1939, but returned to New York in 1940. In 1942, he took leave of absence to establish a US Office of War Information in London. Rejoining the Times in 1945, Reston was assigned to Washington, D.C., as national correspondent. In 1948, he was appointed diplomatic correspondent, followed by bureau chief and columnist in 1953.

Reston married his wife Sally (born Sarah Jane Fulton) on December 24, 1935, after meeting her at the University of Illinois. He also was a member of Sigma Pi - Phi Chapter at Illinois. They had three sons; James, a journalist, non-fiction writer and playwright; Thomas, formerly Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for public affairs and the deputy spokesman for the State Department; and Richard, the publisher of the Vineyard Gazette, a newspaper on Martha's Vineyard.

In subsequent years, Reston served as associate editor of the Times from 1964 to 1968, executive editor from 1968 to 1969, and vice president from 1969 to 1974. He wrote a nationally syndicated column from 1974 until 1987, when he became a senior columnist. During the Nixon administration, he was on the master list of Nixon political opponents.

Reston retired from the Times in 1989.

Reston interviewed many of the world's leaders and wrote extensively about the leading events and issues of his time. He interviewed President John F. Kennedy immediately after the 1961 Vienna Summit with Nikita Khrushchev on the heels of the Bay of Pigs Invasion fiasco.

His books include Prelude to Victory (1942), The Artillery of the Press (1967), Sketches in the Sand (1967), and a memoir, Deadline (1991).

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