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Editor, Writer Diane Granat Yalowitz Dies

By Patricia Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 27, 2004; Page B06

Diane Granat Yalowitz, 49, a senior editor at Washingtonian magazine and a three-time finalist for the National Magazine Award, died of a brain tumor Aug. 25 at her home in Silver Spring.

Under the byline Diane Granat, she won numerous journalism awards over the years. While an Alicia Patterson Foundation fellow in 2002, she began researching a book on Sears, Roebuck and Co. philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, who was a pioneer in providing quality education for black children in the pre-World War II American South.

"There was a wonderful clarity and intelligence to her writing," says a colleague. "She was . . . very tough-minded about ideas, not people." (Matthew Worden -- Washingtonian Magazine)

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"What was amazing about her was that she combined these incredibly high, rigorous professional standards with great empathy and an open-ended fascination with the human drama," said Howard Means, an author who worked with her for a dozen years. "Her social conscience was never far below the surface of what she did, even when she was on a fairly trivial subject."

Ms. Yalowitz worked for 18 years at Washingtonian, beginning in 1986. The magazine's editor, Jack Limpert, noticed her work while serving as a contest judge.

"There was a wonderful clarity and intelligence to her writing," he said. "She was very passionate about things, very tough-minded about ideas, not people. She felt very strongly about finding a sense of community and what made community."

From her first article for the magazine -- a look at the booming growth in Prince George's County -- to her final one, on the revitalization of Silver Spring in the June 2003 issue, Ms. Yalowitz wrote about race relations in the area, the history of immigration as it played out on the streets, philanthropy and education. Her articles on medicine and bioethics reflected her interests as well as those of her husband, David Yalowitz, a physician and health care executive.

The couple's search for a new home led to the magazine's popular series of "Great Neighborhood" cover stories. Similar efforts to find the right schools for her sons produced award-winning pieces on public education.

Born in Chicago, she was a 1975 graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Her first reporting job was with the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, Ill. While there, she won a Ford Foundation fellowship in education journalism. From 1979 to 1981, she was the newspaper's Washington correspondent.

She was a regular freelance contributor to The Washington Post in 1981 and 1982 before joining Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, where she covered Congress, national politics and federal policy. In 1983, she won the Golden Hammer Award presented by the National Association of Home Builders for her articles on housing issues. She also won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Education Writers Association.

Ms. Yalowitz was an alumna of the Leadership Washington program, which brings together local leaders to address regional issues, and had served on the group's recruitment and communications committees. She was a 1993 fellow of the Casey Journalism Center for Children and Families at the University of Maryland. She also volunteered with the DC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and the Girl Scouts of the National Capital Area. At Tifereth Israel Congregation, she was a member of the board of directors and education vice president.

Survivors, in addition to her husband, include two sons, Adam Yalowitz of Silver Spring and Matthew Yalowitz, a sophomore at Northwestern University; her mother, Edith Granat of Hackensack, N.J.; and two sisters.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company