James Robert Taylor, 80, an advertising representative and columnist on the New Observer newspaper in Washington, died Tuesday, on the grounds of Washington Hospital Center. The D.C. medical examiner listed the cause of death as exposure.

Mr. Taylor had gone to the hospital for treatment of injuries suffered in a fall at his Washington home.

Mr. Taylor, who was known as "James R." to his friends, was born in Washington and spent most of his life in newspaper work here.He wrote "What's Happening," a social column for the New Observer, and received an award for newspaper excellence from the Capital Press Club in 1975.

Mr. Taylor worked on the Gaily News newspaper for many years. He stayed with it when it was taken over by the late J. Jugo Warren, who called it the Gaily News-New Observer. The paper was renamed the New Observe about 1960.

In addition to his newspaper work, Mr. Taylor was well known for arranging parties for social clubs and other groups at the old Republic Gardens. He was one of the organizers of the Club 29 and the Club International, both social organizations.

He was an active member of the NAACP.

Survivors include his stepmother, Lula Taylor, of the home in Washington; an aunt, Estelle White, an niece, Marguerite Ware, and a nephew, Arthur Mahoney, all of Washington.