RIP: Gar Joseph, Legendary Daily News Editor

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THE INQUIRER: The first few times Gar Joseph applied for a reporting job at the Philadelphia Daily News, the editors turned him down. On paper, he was a solid candidate, a whip-smart 30-something assistant metro editor at the Wilmington News Journal. But there was some disagreement over whether he was too buttoned-up for the tabloid, which proudly wore its irreverent heart on its sleeve. What was clear to the paper’s editors was that Mr. Joseph didn’t give up easily, even if the odds weren’t in his favor. He kept on telling them he belonged at the Daily News, as simple as that. They finally relented in 1981, hiring him to work on the education beat. It quickly became apparent that Mr. Joseph was more than just a good fit for the newsroom: He lived and breathed the place, and seemed to understand better than anyone what made it tick. In the 34 years that followed, Mr. Joseph established himself as a Daily News legend, creating the popular political column Clout, editing the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of police corruption, and shepherding the careers of countless journalists upon whom he dispensed a unique blend of unblinking support and withering sarcasm. “I got a lot of s—, in retrospect, for not hiring him sooner,” said former Daily News editor Zack Stalberg, now retired and living in New Mexico. Mr. Joseph, 71, who held the title of assistant managing editor by the time he retired, died Saturday, Aug. 10, after a nearly four-year battle with glioblastoma, a particularly ruthless form of brain cancer that often leaves patients with a survival span of less than 24 months. That he wound up beating the predicted range by almost two years surprised no one who worked with him. He didn’t know how to give up. MORE