Donald Forst
New York newspaper editor

Donald Forst, a veteran newsman who led New York Newsday and the Village Voice as they won Pulitzer Prizes and also worked at more than a dozen other newspapers, died Jan. 4 at a hospital in Albany, N.Y. He was 81.

The cause was complications from colon cancer, said his companion, Val Haynes.

Mr. Forst’s journalism career started in the mid-1950s and included stints as cultural editor of the New York Times, assistant city editor of the New York Post and editor in chief of the Boston Herald. He also worked at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, the Houston Press and Boston Magazine.

Mr. Forst was best known for the decade he spent as editor in chief at New York Newsday, where he nurtured reporters and columnists such as Jim Dwyer and Gail Collins before the paper folded in 1995.

Dwyer, who won a Pulitzer for commentary at New York Newsday in 1995, said that he and many others were “mentored, nurtured, prodded, tormented by Don into writing lively, accurate stories.”

“He might send somebody to go live in an obscure village in the Dominican Republic for three months,” said Dwyer, now a New York Times columnist. “He might send someone else to write about the subways three times a week because that was the defining experience of a New Yorker. He wanted to be first and exclusive with everything, so he pushed and pushed and pushed.”

Newsday’s other Pulitzer under Mr. Forst’s leadership was for coverage of a 1991 subway derailment that killed five passengers.

After New York Newsday folded, Mr. Forst surprised many by taking a job as editor in chief of the Voice, the alternative weekly then struggling for an identity. The Voice won a Pulitzer for international reporting for a series on AIDS in Africa in 2000. He left the Voice in 2005 and spent the past seven years teaching journalism at the University at Albany.

Bill Conlin
Philadelphia sportswriter

Bill Conlin, a former Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter and columnist whose career came to an end following multiple allegations of child abuse, died Jan. 9 at a hospital in Largo, Fla. He was 79.

He had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and a colon infection, the Daily News reported.

Mr. Conlin, a Hall of Fame baseball writer and author, retired in 2011 following allegations that he abused four children decades ago. Three other accusers later came forward. Authorities said no criminal charges would be pursued because the alleged abuse occurred so long ago.

Mr. Conlin worked at the newspaper for more than four decades, starting in 1965 and becoming the beat writer for the Phillies the next year. He held that job for 21 years and became a columnist in 1987. He also was a commentator on ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters” and wrote two baseball-related books, the “Rutledge Book of Baseball” and “Batting Cleanup, Bill Conlin.”

He received the 2011 J.G. Taylor Spink Award presented at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., and is honored in the hall’s “Scribes and Mikemen” exhibit.

— From news services