Former Copley Newspapers Editor-in-Chief Herb Klein died today at the age of 91. Klein was also notable as the first-ever White House communications director, serving President Richard Nixon.
I met Klein several years ago when I had the audacity to apply for a job opening for an editorial writer at the Union-Tribune. The only reason I got as far in the interview proces as I did was this blog. I didn't get the job, but I did get the privilege of having two interviews with Klein during the process.
Being in his office was like entering a sort of political museum. I was admitted to his office a few minutes before he came in and just stared at the walls, spotting a Herblock cartoon depicting Klein holding on to both sides of a "credibility" chasm between Nixon and the press.
I enjoyed our conversations -- they felt much more like that than an interview -- and remember him putting off the end of our second interview by several minutes to finish up a subject even though his next appointment was waiting in the lobby. As I walked out, I recognized the guest who'd been kept waiting, but didn't put a name on him until I was back downstairs at my desk. The guy kept cooling his heels was Daniel Goldin, NASA administrator.
RIP, Herb Klein.