Burl Osborne, former Associated Press board chairman, dies at 75

August 17, 2012

Burl Osborne, a former board chairman of the Associated Press and publisher of the Dallas Morning News, died Aug. 15 at a hospital in Dallas. He was 75.

His wife, Betty, confirmed the death but did not disclose the cause.

Mr. Osborne, who lived in Dallas, was a member of the AP board for 14 years, the last five as chairman, from 2002 to 2007. He worked for 25 years at the Belo Corp., serving as editor and publisher of the Morning News, president of Belo’s publishing division, and as a member of its board. He retired as publisher emeritus of the Morning News in 2007.

Mr. Osborne, a native of Jenkins, Ky., worked for the AP for two decades before joining Belo. He started as a correspondent in Bluefield, W.Va., and rose to managing editor, a post he held from 1977 to 1980.

As a reporter, he filed stories that included a first-person account of his dependence on an artificial kidney machine. Mr. Osborne later underwent a kidney transplant from his mother.


Former Associated Press board Chairman Burl Osborne died Wednesday, Aug. 15 at a Dallas hospital after a sudden illness, according to his wife, Betty. He was 75. (Santos Chaparro/AP)

He headed AP bureaus in Columbus, Ohio, and in Louisville, and was assistant bureau chief in Washington, before moving to New York to take the job as managing editor.

Mr. Osborne left AP in 1980 to become vice president and executive editor of the Dallas Morning News, a market underdog battling the rival Dallas Times Herald in a feverish circulation war. The Times Herald closed in 1991, the same year Mr. Osborne became publisher of the Morning News. Belo spun off its newspaper business in 2008 into a separate company, A.H. Belo Corp.

Besides his wife, survivors include a son; a brother; and a grandson.

Associated Press

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