Acclaimed AP journalist Gregory Katz dies at the age of 67

Acclaimed AP journalist Gregory Katz dies at the age of 67

NEW YORK (AP) – Gregory Katz, an acclaimed correspondent for The Associated Press in London who recently led the news cooperative reporting Brexit and the election of Boris Johnson as prime minister, died Tuesday. He had been ill in recent months and contracted COVID-19. He was 67.

His career spanning more than four decades has taken him all over the world, from Latin America to Africa, Asia to Russia, the Middle East and Western Europe. He was part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting on the Dallas Morning News in 1994 for a series about violence against women around the world.

“In the male-oriented world of Mexico, where violent crimes against women are often broached and condoned, the tropical city of Juchitan provides a refuge for women who want to live without worrying about rape or assault on the street,” Katz wrote in a counterintuitive piece for the series.

“The reason: This is a city where women rule.”

Born in Westport, Connecticut, Katz also often wrote about music, especially his lifelong passion for rock and roll. He was the only journalist in the Dakota apartments on the night of 1980 when John Lennon was murdered and wrote a final report of the murder for Rolling Stone magazine.

He remembered how as a ponytail teenager who was still in high school, he hitchhiked to the Woodstock music festival, slept on the muddy ground, and drank at the historic rock concert.

Katz was “a great journalist and lyricist,” said Scott Kraft, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times and a friend of more than three decades. “I admired his work and cherished his friendship. He was such a generous spirit. ‘

Anne-Marie O’Connor, a London-based journalist and author who covered Haiti and Cuba with Katz in the 1990s, said that “Greg was not only a wonderfully curious reporter, but could also be rotten funny, and his sense of humor increased the esprit de corps of his colleagues along the way. ‘

Katz joined the AP in London as a correspondent in 2008 and became acting bureau chief in 2013. He was a known figure to many as a regular panelist on the BBC’s “Dateline London” program, which discussed world events with other foreign correspondents.

Before AP, he was the office chief for Europe and the Middle East for the Houston Chronicle newspaper, also based in London.

With a graying, cropped beard and a range of stylish hats, the soft-spoken Katz exuded an atmosphere of relaxed sophistication. A lifelong New York Yankees fan, he stayed up late at night to listen to Yankees games on the internet from London. He tried to attend the season opener every year and did his best to beat the first regular Major League Baseball game in London, a Yankees-Red Sox brawl held at the 2012 Olympic Stadium last summer.

Ian Phillips, AP’s international news director, saw him as a “soft, gilet-wearing, straw-skipper-wearing, creepy-minded gentleman … an American abroad, but my God how he assimilated!”

He noted that together with the royal family, Katz dealt with British politics “from Blair to Boris” and Brexit. “He managed to capture so much about British society in his writing – the nuance, the individuality, the humor, the tradition.”

A week before the 2016 Brexit vote, Katz wrote a story from Dover, England, which foreshadowed the surprisingly scary victory of those who argue that the UK is leaving the European Union.

“Don’t try to talk to Brian Hall about economics, trading blocks or the value of the British pound. He’s not listening, ‚ÄĚKatz wrote. “There is one factor – and only one factor – that forms his opinion (in the mood): immigration.”

Katz was a devoted brother to his three older siblings, including his sister Stephanie, who had died last year. He often flew to New York to be with her and drink martinis at their favorite Upper West Side bar in Manhattan.

Katz, a first-generation American whose family roots extended to France and New Zealand, cherished his deep connections with coastal Connecticut, but effortlessly grew friends around the world.

He was “a bon vivant” with an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz and baseball, recalled Richard Boudreaux of The Wall Street Journal. “He was able to recite the starting line-up of just about every Yankees team going back to the late 1950s when he was a kid.”

Colleagues remembered Katz’s fondness for fine cigars. He occasionally wrote freelance articles for the magazine Cigar Aficionado.

“Sitting on the renovated cigar terrace at the Wellesley Hotel in London is a bit like camping – if the tent you’re in costs about $ 4 million,” he wrote last year.

Katz graduated from the University of Vermont and had his first professional job in journalism on Cape Cod, with the Provincetown (Mass.) Advocate. Later, he spent time in the Boston Herald American, the Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Sun-Sentinel and USA Today before moving to Mexico City with the Morning News.

Katz underwent cancer surgery in London in February. Then he went home for several days, but suffered complications and returned to the hospital. During his recovery, he became infected with the coronavirus and became pneumonia.

He is survived by his wife, architect Beatrice Sennewald, and their daughter Sophia, a recently graduated university.

“Greg loved his work, baseball, music, sailing, and his many close friends, but when it came to his wife and daughter, he thought he was the happiest man in the world,” said Marjorie Miller, AP Vice President and global enterprise. editor, who had known him since their days in Mexico in the early 1990s. “He was so in love, it was always a pleasure to hear him talk about them.”

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