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  UPI space journalist Al Rossiter Jr. (1936-2013)

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Author Topic:   UPI space journalist Al Rossiter Jr. (1936-2013)
Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-25-2013 01:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Al Rossiter Jr., a longtime UPI science writer and executive editor, died on Monday (Sept. 23) in Washington, North Carolina. He was 77.

Rossiter led UPI's Cape Canaveral bureau during the Apollo program through the early shuttle program. The following is from Kennedy Space Center's Chroniclers:

Al Rossiter Jr. was a science writer, editor and executive during a 32-year career with United Press International and then spent more than a decade as a senior public affairs administrator at Duke University.

Rossiter retired from UPI and moved to Duke in March 1992 after rising through the ranks of UPI to become its editor and executive vice president, responsible for the company's worldwide editorial operations.

At Duke, Rossiter was director of the news service and assistant vice president in the university's office of public affairs until he retired in December 2001. He continued to work on a part-time basis as an associate dean at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering.

Rossiter was an award-winning science writer for much of his career with UPI. As a reporter, his science beat took him to the South Pole, West Africa, the wreck site of the USS Monitor 220 feet deep in the Atlantic Ocean and 10 miles high in high-performance aircraft. He was one of the finalists in NASA's Journalist-in-Space program.

Rossiter joined the international news organization as a staff writer in 1959 in Atlanta, moved to UPI's Richmond, Va., bureau in 1961 and was named manager of the Cape Canaveral bureau in 1963.

He specialized for 10 years in covering the nation's space program, concentrating on the Apollo manned lunar landing program and the preceding two-man Gemini spaceflights that pioneered the rendezvous and docking operations that are commonplace in space today.

Rossiter was appointed UPI's science editor in 1973 and moved to Washington to direct the agency's coverage of space, medicine and the sciences from around the world. He developed an award-winning staff of seven full-time science writers and initiated a weekly package of science news features, the first of its kind in the wire service business.

In addition to the Apollo moon flights, space shuttle missions and unmanned planetary missions, Rossiter covered major stories such as the outbreak of Legionnaire's disease in Pennsylvania, the pioneering artificial heart transplants in Utah and Kentucky and the Three Mile Island nuclear accident.

He was appointed executive editor of the agency in 1987, directing the production and editing of UPI's news services worldwide and for all markets from the company's world headquarters in Washington. He was named executive editor/senior vice president in 1988 and editor and executive vice president in 1991.

Rossiter received numerous awards for his writing and reporting on the space and science beat, the most recent of which was the prestigious 1987 Grady-Stack Medal from the American Chemical Society.

He was a member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, National Association of Science Writers and the Education Writers Association. He served for five years as a member of the national advisory board of the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism at the University of Maryland and later was a member of the advisory board for the Graduate Medical Journalism Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is listed in Who's Who in America.

Rossiter was born in Elmira, N.Y., on March 2, 1936. He graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in geology in 1958 and studied geological sciences at Emory University Graduate School in 1959.

dom
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posted 09-25-2013 02:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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J.L
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posted 09-25-2013 05:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Al Rossiter was on the panel of five journalists who posed questions to the Apollo 11 crew at their nationally televised pre-launch news conference from KSC on July 14, 1969.

A quote from a reporter friend. "Al was very smart and dedicated. He could sit through the most boring scientific conference and not only figure out what was important but also make it interesting."

rjurek349
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posted 09-25-2013 06:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rjurek349   Click Here to Email rjurek349     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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GACspaceguy
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posted 09-25-2013 07:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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dss65
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posted 09-25-2013 09:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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David Carey
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posted 09-25-2013 10:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Carey   Click Here to Email David Carey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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mach3valkyrie
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posted 09-26-2013 12:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mach3valkyrie   Click Here to Email mach3valkyrie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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randy
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posted 09-26-2013 03:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Jeff
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posted 09-26-2013 06:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jeff   Click Here to Email Jeff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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East-Frisian
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DChudwin
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posted 09-26-2013 01:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very sad to hear of the death of Al Rossiter Jr. As J.L. Pickering pointed out, he interviewed the Apollo 11 crew on national TV before the launch.

I am attaching pictures I took at the Apollo 11 crew preflight interview at Cape Canaveral in 1969 of the journalists interviewing the crew remotely. Walter Cronkite is on the left and Al Rossiter is second from the left.

Kite
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posted 09-26-2013 01:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kite     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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jasonelam
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posted 09-26-2013 04:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
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Go4Launch
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posted 09-26-2013 08:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Go4Launch   Click Here to Email Go4Launch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was a colleague of Al's for many years, and I'm pleased to see his medical reporting prominently mentioned in his obit. He was really unmatched in his ability to sit through an all-day, seemingly boring scientific conference, and then not only identify what the news from it was, but then to provide a concise, well-written explanation and background.

He covered the shuttle through 51-L, and was a dedicated, studious man who was very well-respected in the space reporting community.

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