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Barry Sussman, Washington Post Watergate Editor, Dies at 87

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“While it’s common for a president’s popularity to extend at a time of national crisis,” he wrote in The Post, “the rise for Reagan appears as sharp as any yet recorded.”

Mr. Sussman left The Post in 1987 to be the managing editor, national news, for United Press International. But he left that troubled wire service after lower than a 12 months due to his disagreement with planned staff layoffs.

In 1988, his second book, “What Americans Really Think and Why Our Politicians Pay No Attention,” examined the role of public opinion polls within the American political process.

Barry Sussman was born on July 10, 1934, in Brooklyn. His father, Samuel, was a civil servant, and his mother, Esther (Rosen) Sussman, was a homemaker. After graduating from Brooklyn College in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree, he worked for an promoting agency and spent his spare time as a movie reviewer.

He was hired for his first newspaper job in 1960, at The Bristol Herald Courier, a small every day in Virginia, where in 15 months he rose from reporter to managing editor. The Post hired him in 1965 as an editor on its state and suburban desk. He was named the D.C. editor in 1971.

“He had wonderful instincts and quietness,” said Lawrence Meyer, a former Post reporter who worked under Mr. Sussman. He recalled Mr. Sussman being intrigued someday by a brief item in The Post a couple of contested election in a small town outside Washington.

“He said, ‘There’s something happening there, go have a look,’” Mr. Meyer said, “and it turned out to be a very interesting story a couple of cultural, generational conflict reflective of something much larger within the Black community in and around Washington.”

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