Shaw, David 1943–2005

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Shaw, David 1943–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born January 4, 1943, in Dayton, OH; died of complications from a brain tumor, August 1, 2005, in Los Angeles, CA. Journalist, critic, and author. Shaw was a Pulitzer Prize-winning media critic and reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Interested in journalism from a young age, he first started writing for his high school newspaper and had his first reporting job—with the Huntington Park, California, Daily Signal—while still attending the University of California at Los Angeles. After graduating in 1965, he was a feature writer based in Long Beach, California, for two years before joining the Los Angeles Times in 1968. During his first few years there, Shaw was a feature writer for the paper. His career took a notable turn when his editor, William F. Thomas, selected him to be the newspaper's media critic. Thomas believed that circulation for the Los Angeles Times was declining because readers were losing trust in its reporting. He assigned Shaw to criticize not only other papers and media outlets, but his own paper as well. Thus the public would hopefully regain confidence that the paper was trying to report fairly on issues. With the backing of his editor, Shaw took the job to heart, and felt free to pick apart the work of his fellow journalists for their sloppy research and biased reporting. Naturally, this cost him many friends, but Shaw's articles did, indeed, prove effective in winning readers. After working many years as media critic and winning a 1991 Pulitzer Prize, Shaw gained popularity with a food-and-wine column he began in 2002 called "Matters of Taste." The column shared his knowledge of and love for fine cuisine and wines in Los Angeles and around the world. In addition to his newspaper writings, Shaw was the author of several books, including Journalism Today: A Changing Press for a Changing America (1977), Press Watch: A Provocative Look at How Newspapers Report the News (1984), and The Pleasure Police: How Bluenose Busybodies and Lily-Livered Alarmists Are Taking All the Fun out of Life (1996).

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Chicago Tribune, August 4, 2005, section 3, p. 8.

Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2005, p. B8.

New York Times, August 3, 2005, p. C17.

Washington Post, August 4, 2005, p. B7.