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Dave Burgin, an unforgettable editor

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Posted: Monday, June 23, 2014 5:44 pm

Sad to read about the recent death of Dave Burgin, a journalistic legend who was the top editor at seven different U.S. newspapers.

Among those papers was the Peninsula Times-Tribune in Palo Alto, where I worked as a cub reporter. 

Burgin was passionate, driven, profane and funny. He loved a drink and didn't mind a fight, whether journalistic or physical.

He also loved the big story.

When news of the Harvey Milk and George Moscone killings broke, one of the night editors asked Burgin if we should send anyone up to San Francisco to cover the story.

"Send anyone? Hell, send everyone," he bellowed.

He launched tirades over botched headlines. He threw offending newspapers on the desks of editors and warned them, rather publicly, not to screw up again.

He was roundly admired, and also feared.

After running the show in Palo Alto, he was appointed editor of the Orlando Sentinel. 

On the day before he was to leave for Orlando, Burgin burst from his corner office, violently waving a newspaper above his head.

"Damn it," he thundered, charging toward the copy desk. We all turned and braced for the onslaught.

Then, in the middle of the newsroom, Burgin stopped abruptly, and smiled.

"Never mind," he said.

"Just practicing for Orlando."

An obit on C. David Burgin is here:

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/C-David-Burgin-editor-of-S-F-Examiner-twice-5559764.php

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