Robert Ray Mercer, former journalism educator at Cypress College, died Jan. 21, 2020, in Tulsa, Okla., the Tulsa World reported. He was 72. Mercer was journalism chairman at Cypress College in Orange County from 1996 until his retirement in 2015. He received several Fulbright grants and taught journalism classes in Japan, Ukraine and Pakistan. Mercer…

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Jim Webb, former publisher of McNaughton Newspapers’ Mountain Democrat in Placerville, died Feb. 3, 2020, at home in El Dorado Hills, the newspaper reported. He was 79. Webb was publisher there from 1985 to 2009. “Jim brought professionalism and that winning personality to the Mountain Democrat,” said Foy S. McNaughton, the company’s president and CEO.…

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Paul G. Manolis, former executive editor of The Oakland Tribune, died Feb. 8, 2020, at his Piedmont home,the East Bay Times reports. He was 92. Manolis was an executive aide to Senate Majority Leader William F. Knowland of California, who later was The Tribune’s publisher, before serving as top editor at The Tribune from 1964…

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Larry Press, The Bakersfield Californian’s former sports editor and “In the Press Box” columnist, died Feb. 6, 2020, at home in Ventura, The Californian reports. He was 93. Press joined the newspaper in 1953 and stayed for 42 years, during which he covered local and national sports with equal care and detail. “His knowledge of…

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Joseph Barletta, a former top executive in several national news companies, died Oct. 28, 2019, in Napa, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. He was 83. Barletta was a former president of the San Francisco Newspaper Agency, which managed the joint-operating agreement between the San Francisco Chronicle and then-Examiner; president of Freedom Communications, president of Thomson…

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Memorial services are pending for John Francis O’Malley, CNPA’s contract lobbyist for 25 years, who died Oct. 21, 2019, after a long battle with cancer. He was 72. O’Malley collaborated with CNPA’s advocacy team from his post at Lang, Hansen, O’Malley and Miller and then at California Advocates, Inc. “Although his client base was as…

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Dr. William H. Lee, co-founder of The Sacramento Observer, died Sept. 22, 2019, The Observer reports. He was 83. Lee and two other businessmen started The Observer in 1962. In 1965, Lee and his wife Kathryn became sole owners of the African American paper. They also started the Lee Publishing Company, which operated six publications…

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A memorial service will be held Sept. 17 in Upland for Steve Hunt, president, publisher and editor of GateHouse Media’s Daily Press in Victorville, five weekly publications and their websites. Hunt died Aug. 27, 2019, The Daily Press reported. He was 64 and had congestive heart failure. Hunt’s 45-year news career began with police reporting…

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Janet Armantrout, editor of The Independent in Livermore for more than 30 years, died Aug. 24, 2019, of complications related to Lou Gehrig’s disease, the newspaper reported. She was 77. Armantrout joined The Independent in production in 1964, the year after its founding. She added reporting and writing to her duties during the 1960s and…

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Paul Whitefield, a former editor who helped to produce many important stories and sections at the Los Angeles Times, died Aug. 14, 2019, after a five-year battle with esophageal cancer, The Times reported. He was 66. “He was truly unflappable in dealing with breaking news on tough deadlines,” said former colleague Jon Thurber. “That notion…

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