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Herbert Nipson, award-winning journalist, former Ebony executive editor, dies at 95
(January 3, 2012) Herbert Nipson, a longtime editorial force behind Ebony magazine, died of natural causes Saturday, Dec. 10, at his Albuquerque, N.M., home at the age of 95. He is credited with broadening the scope of the nationís largest black-targeted monthly, especially during his tenure as executive editor from 1972 until his retirement from Johnson Publishing Co. in 1987.
Born in Asheville, N.C., Mr. Nipson grew up in Clearfield, Pa. He received a degree in journalism from Penn State in 1940. As an undergraduate, he was the first African-American elected to Sigma Delta Chi, the national journalism honor society. After a tour as an Army diving instructor during WWII, he received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Iowa in 1948. After graduation, he joined Ebony as an associate editor, often writing profiles on top-name black celebrities.
During his tenure, Ebony covered issues of civil rights and social justice, important to African-Americans, but often ignored by the national press. He received the Capitol Press Club's outstanding journalist award in 1965.
"'Nip,' as we all knew him, was a loyal member of the (Johnson Publishing) community and an extraordinary presence for as long as I can remember going to the Johnson Publishing Co. offices," said Linda Johnson Rice, the company's chairwoman. "He was a guiding force in shaping Ebony. His vision was essential to making the magazine what it is today."
An avid supporter of the arts, Nipson served as director of the South Side Community Arts Center in Chicago, as a member of the Illinois Arts Council and the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee for Chicago theatrical productions.
Since his wife, Velvin's death in 2002, Mr. Nipson has split his time between Albuquerque, NM and Cambridge, MA. Her is survived by two sisters, his son and daughter and two grandchildren, and friends and colleagues who love and miss his patience and good humor. A memorial service is being planned.
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