MIAMI -- Janet Chusmir, 60, the executive editor of the Miami Herald who helped guide the newspaper to two Pulitzer Prizes and recently was named Editor of the Year by the National Press Foundation, died of an aneurysm Dec. 22 at a hospital here.
Mrs. Chusmir, who lived in Miami Beach, was a native of Boston. She received a journalism degree from Boston University in 1949. A week after obtaining her degree, she married Leonard Chusmir, and became a mother and homemaker.
It wasn't until moving to Miami Beach in 1963 with their two school-aged children that she began her career. She joined the Miami Beach Daily Sun, where she wrote stories at the flat rate of $2.50 each before becoming a full-time reporter at a salary of $60 a week.
In 1968, she was hired by the Miami Herald as a general assignment reporter. She wrote a column, collected awards for feature writing and became editor of the paper's society pages. In 1977, she became assistant managing editor/features.
In 1982, Knight-Ridder Newspapers, the Herald's corporate parent, named Mrs. Chusmir publisher and president of the Boulder, Colo., Daily Camera.
She returned to the Herald in January 1987 as executive editor, the senior newsroom position. Within days of her arrival, the newspaper broke two major investigative stories: one detailing how presidential candidate Gary Hart had violated federal election laws through unreported campaign contributions and the other detailing how a county manager had profited from land deals he had handled.
Her approach to feminism was always to be persistent about goals without unnecessarily offending others. She recently told a group of Hispanic women to approach their changing roles without negativism.
"Pick your battles," she said. "It's not good to be fighting over each little thing and male chauvinistic action. Instead, fight for the important things: equal pay and equal respect. Fight smart," she said, "make them an offer they can't refuse."
In addition to her husband, of Miami Beach, her survivors include a son, Steven, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla; a daughter, Marsha Chusmir-Shapiro of Daytona Beach, Fla.; and a grandson.