The death earlier this month of Ed DeCourcy, longtime publisher of the Newport newspaper the Argus-Champion, was more than just the passing of a great newspaperman. It is a reminder of how rare such journalists are – and how they should be treasured.
Ed, who died at age 93, was editor and publisher of the Argus-Champion for 21 years, beginning in 1961. He had a long and distinguished career in journalism, in New York City, Connecticut and New Hampshire. For several years, his column, “The Spectator,” appeared on the pages of New Hampshire Business Review, among several other newspapers. But he was more than just a newspaperman. He was gracious and generous and, in every sense of the word, a gentleman.
At the Argus-Champion, Ed demonstrated through his actions and words what a newspaper was about. He thoroughly understood that a newspaper – especially a community newspaper like the Argus – served its readers, first and foremost. He understood that, among all sources of information, community newspapers play an especially important role in keeping citizens informed. And that role is magnified even more in a place like New Hampshire, where those citizens have such a vital and powerful voice in determining the fate of their communities.
Ed had the qualities that, unfortunately, are becoming scarcer and scarcer among today’s journalists. He was curious, erudite, respectful of everyone, unintimidated by the powerful, willing to hear and publisher anyone’s opinion. And he always looked for the truth in a story, for good or ill. Above all, he was fair-minded and unafraid. In other words, he was the very model of a journalist, a man who understood exactly how important newspapers, and all other sources of information, are to a democracy.