Richard Henry Fogel, co-founder of Bay City News Service, died last Wednesday at 86. Fogel was among the founders of FAC in 1988. Ever a free speech advocate, he was a recipient of the James Madison Freedom of Information Career Achievement Award, among others.
By Wayne Futak
Bay City News
09/10/2009 —- Richard Henry Fogel, co-founder of San Francisco’s Bay City News Service, died Wednesday in Thousand Oaks. He was 86.
An advocate on issues relating to the public’s right to access government information, Fogel worked with other journalists and news organizations across the country to craft the basic principles of what would later become the landmark Freedom of Information Act.
Fogel — regarded as a legend among San Francisco Bay Area journalists — received the prestigious Northern California Radio-Television News Directors Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
Born April 29, 1923, in Santa Monica, Fogel was the younger of two sons of Moe Miller Fogel and Syndie Aileen Gardner Fogel. Fogel enrolled at Stanford University in 1941 but deferred his education to enlist in the U.S. Army after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. During World War II, he saw action in Italy’s North Apennines and Po Valley campaigns, where he served as a gunner on a 155 mm “Long Tom” field gun in the 530th Field Artillery Battalion, Fifth Army.
After the war, Fogel returned to Stanford University, where he served as night editor for the Stanford Daily and interned as a reporter for the San Francisco News. Fogel graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1947 and worked as a correspondent and staff writer for United Press International.
He moved to Oakland in 1948 and joined the Oakland Tribune as a copy editor. He worked his way up through the ranks over the next three decades, ultimately serving as the paper’s executive editor.
Along with his wife Marcia Schwalbe Fogel, business partner Wayne Futak and associate Joann Sutro, Fogel in 1978 launched Bay City News, a regional wire service dedicated to local coverage of news and events throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area.
BCN’s first big story was covering the assassinations of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone.
For 30 years in his capacity as the wire service’s owner and editor, Fogel mentored a new generation of aspiring reporters, instilling in them the journalistic ethical principles of truthfulness, accuracy, fairness and objectivity. BCN continues to play a role in providing balanced and accurate news to Bay Area television, radio, and print media outlets.
He received numerous awards for excellence in journalism, including the James Madison Freedom of Information Career Achievement Award, the Public Service Award for Distinguished Reporting on the Administration of Justice from the State Bar Association of California, the Contra Costa Press Club Award, and the Editor and Publisher Newspaper Promotion Award.
Fogel is survived by his wife of 60 years, Marcia Fogel; daughter Vicki Fogel Mykles; sons Richard Henry Fogel, Jr. and Jonathan Miller Fogel; and grandchildren Rebecca Morrison Fogel, Christopher Kjell Mykles, and Andrew Morrison Fogel.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Richard H. Fogel Memorial Fund for Excellence in Journalism through Stanford University’s Office of Development, Gift Processing, 326 Galvez St., Stanford, CA 94305-6105 or giving.stanford.edu.
Services are pending.