We grew up in the newspaper business in an era of giants.
There were star reporters like Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward, Seymour Hersh, Tom Wolfe, Jack Anderson and Hunter S. Thompson. There were fabulous columnists like Art Buchwald, Russell Baker, Arthur Hoppe, Mark Shields, George Will, Mike Royko, Dave Barry and William F. Buckley.
There were very famous editors - Ben Bradlee probably tops the list.
What Bradlee, Woodward and Bernstein had in common was they worked at The Washington Post. And that they all came of age when Katharine Graham was publisher of that newspaper.
Kay Graham was a reluctant hero. She became publisher of the Post when her husband, Philip, committed suicide in 1963. Her father, Eugene Meyer, had purchased the newspaper in 1933.
She presided over the newspaper when it became possibly the most respected journal in the country. The saga of the Nixon administration's Watergate scandal played out in the pages of the Post for almost two years (1972-74), culminating in the president's resignation.
During that time, Kay Graham was an almost daily presence in the newsroom, not telling the staff what to write, but to let Woodward, Bernstein and Bradlee know that management had their backs. Threats of economic sanctions did not deter Graham from making sure her news staff knew they had the freedom to take the story wherever it led.
Watergate is now part of history and, sadly, so is Katharine Graham. She died in 2001. In recent years, the Post has been run by her son, Donald, and her granddaughter, Katharine Weymouth.
The announcement last month that the Post will be sold to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos marks the end of an era. Our hope is that it does not also mark the end of the independence of one of the great news staffs in American journalism.
Katharine Graham exemplified the courage - and the ethos - of America's great newspaper families. We just hope that Jeff Bezos preserves that legacy.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.