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Public Journalism Advocate, Editor Cole Campbell, 53

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Cole Campbell, 53, the former top editor at the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk who became a nationally known advocate of "public journalism," a term that has come to mean taking a newspaper beyond traditional, detached newsgathering and making it an active participant in communities, died Jan. 5 at a hospital in Reno, Nev., after his vehicle overturned on an icy road.

Mr. Campbell was a Roanoke native and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He worked at several newspapers in North Carolina before becoming an editor of the Virginian-Pilot in 1990. He was the paper's top editor from 1993 to 1996.

He was editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 1996 to 2000. He then was a fellow at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Fla., before becoming head of the journalism school at the University of Nevada, Reno, in 2004.

He had said his goal at UNR was to boost the school to prominence in journalistic ethics and innovation.

Mr. Campbell was "an innovator, a daring thinker," said Roy Peter Clark, vice president and senior scholar at the Poynter Institute.

His marriages to Kathryn Campbell and Sharon Campbell ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of five years, Catherine Campbell of Reno; a daughter from his first marriage, Claire Campbell of Brooklyn, N.Y., and a son from his third marriage, Clark Campbell of Reno; and two sisters, Connie Brough of Vass, N.C., and Cathy Campbell of Washington.

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