Journalism is innate in Craig Klugman, longtime editor of the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Journal Gazette.
“In my life, about the only thing that came easily to me was newspaper journalism,” he said of his career.
Born in 1945 in Fargo, North Dakota, well before the middle-of-nowhere town had any weight to its name, Klugman graduated from IU in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and political science.
He was hired as a copy editor at the Chicago Sun-Times after graduation, and later went on to serve as telegraph editor, news editor, city editor and assistant managing editor for features.
He left the Sun-Times for Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where he taught as an assistant professor from 1978-79. He went on to serve as director of undergraduate studies from 1979-82.
After leaving Medill in 1982, Klugman returned to the state of his alma mater, where he would dedicate the next decades of his life not only to local communities, but to the benefit of Indiana journalism as a whole. He stepped onto the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette as editor in 1982, where he worked for 33 years before his retirement from the paper in late 2015. Under his leadership, the paper won numerous state and national awards, which include the Hoosier State Press Association’s Blue Ribbon Newspaper of the Year award.
Journal Gazette publisher Julie Inskeep once wrote that Klugman has remained dedicated through his career to embracing the growth of media, and even to following its growth into uncharted territory.
In 1998, Klugman helped produce and distribute a revolutionary seven-newspaper investigative series on abuses of Indiana’s public access laws. The series, called “The State of Secrecy,” ran simultaneously in all seven of the participating papers and ultimately resulted in the creation of the Indiana Public Access Counselor’s Office.
The format has since been used by newspapers in more than 20 states.
Klugman serves on the IU Publications Board, which selects editors for IU student media publications. He chaired the Freedom of Information, International and Content committees for the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and even served a year as the editor of the society’s magazine.
In 2001, he joined other distinguished journalists and public officials for “Getting it Right,” a Franklin College symposium on accuracy in the media. In 2004, he was awarded the Hoosier Intellectual Freedom Award from the Indiana Library Federation for challenging censorship throughout his career.
He also received a Distinguished Service Award from the Hoosier State Press Association, which recognized his work on more than 20 years of service with HSPA committees. Those included the Newsroom Seminar and Freedom of Information committees.
He was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in 2009.
Throughout his career, Klugman has remained dedicated not only to contributing to his field, but also to bettering it. His work on freedom of the press and freedom of information advocacy exemplifies his career-long affinity for journalism and his will to advance it for all.
“So what have newspapers meant to me?” he asked. “My life, probably.”