Richard M. Spong, 65, a retired associate editor with Editorial Research Reports who also was an English professor and novelist, died Wednesday at the National Hospital for Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation in Arlington after a heart attack. He lived in Washington.

A native of Harrisburg, Pa., Mr. Spong began his career there in 1937 as a reporter for The Harrisburg Evening News. He was a reporter for The Providence (R.I.) Bulletin before entering the Army in 1943. He was a sergeant in a tank destroyer battalion and in the counterintelligence corps during the rest of World War II.

After the war, he taught English at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., and at Michigan State University.

In 1950, Mr. Spong joined Editorial Research Reports here as an associate editor. He remained with the news service, which is now part of the Congressional Quarterly, until his retirement in 1970.

Mr. Spong then worked as a free-lance writer here until retiring a second time last year. His work for The Washington Post's editorial page included an appreciation of the writer John O'Hara and an analysis of the financial gains of people involved in the Watergate scandal.

In 1949, Mr. Spong's novel on postwar Paris, "See If He Wins," was published. He also was coauthor of a textbook, "Journalism and the Student Publication," published in 1950.

Mr. Spong graduated from Dartmouth College and earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. He received a 50th anniversary medal of achievement from the Columbia University School of Journalism.

Survivors include his wife, Marian, of Washington.