Craig R. Whitney spent his entire professional career as a reporter, foreign correspondent, and editor at The New York Times, where he was assistant managing editor in charge of standards and ethics when he retired in 2009. Before that he was the night editor from 2000 to 2006.
He started working at The Times in 1965 as an assistant to James Reston in the Washington Bureau, after working part-time for two years at The Worcester Telegram in Worcester, Mass.
He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1966 and obtained a commission at Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I., serving as an Ensign in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy under Paul H. Nitze and Paul Ignatius, and as a Lieutenant (junior grade) with the Seventh Fleet detachment in Saigon, Vietnam from 1968 to 1969.
Returning to The Times in 1969 as a reporter in New York City, he went back to Saigon in 1971 as a war correspondent, serving as Bureau Chief from 1972 to 1973. Later he reported from Bonn, Moscow, London, Berlin, and Paris during the Cold War and the collapse of communism in East Germany, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. He has had more than 3,200 bylined articles in The Times.
As bureau chief in Moscow from 1977 to 1980, he was tried in a Soviet court on charges of slandering the Soviet State Radio and Television Committee in a news report about the televised confession of a dissident — Zviad Gamsakhurdia, who after the collapse of the Soviet Union became president of Georgia before being killed during the first of its civil wars. Mr. Whitney and a colleague from The Baltimore Sun were convicted in absentia of slander and fined, but were allowed to remain in Moscow until the end of their assignments, discovering that their notoriety made it easier, not more difficult, for them to talk with ordinary Russians.
He later served as Foreign Editor and Washington Editor before returning to foreign correspondence in the late 1980s.
Mr. Whitney speaks French, German and Russian and is the author of “Spy Trader,” a biography about the East German lawyer and Cold War go-between Wolfgang Vogel, which was published by Times Books/Random House in June 1993 and Siedler Verlag, Berlin in September 1993. He also edited “The WMD Mirage,” a collection of documents about Iraq’s history of weapons of mass destruction and the Bush administration’s decision to go to war in 2003 on a false premise based on outdated intelligence, published by PublicAffairs in 2005.
Mr. Whitney, a talented amateur pianist and organist, also wrote “All The Stops,” a book about pipe organs in America published by PublicAffairs in 2003.
Born on October 12, 1943, in Milford, Massachusetts, Mr. Whitney received a A.B. degree (magna cum laude) in French history and literature from Harvard College in 1965. He and his wife, Heidi Whitney, have two children, Alexandra Whitney, director of research and exhibitions at an art gallery in Manhattan, and Stefan Whitney, a Foreign Service Officer, and four grandchildren.