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NPR’s First News Director, former SU Professor, Dies

ASHEVILLE, NC — Cleve Mathews, whose career highlights include helping to create NPR’s All Things Considered and nearly 15 years as a professor and administrator at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, has died. Mathews was 84, when esophageal cancer claimed his life in North Carolina late last week.

Word of Mathews’ passing was reported by the Syracuse Post-Standard today.  According to the report, Mathews started out as a print journalist, eventually becoming NPR’s very first News Director in the 1970s.  That’s when he helped to create All Things Considered, which won a Peabody Award the following year, and still runs on NPR stations nationwide to this day.

Mathews came to Syracuse University in 1971, though students nationwide may recognize his name as co-author of “Ethics for the Media.”  He stayed at Newhouse until 1991, turning down a promotion to associate dean in 1990.

Following his retirement from SU, Mathews moved to North Carolina, but kept on teaching at a college for senior citizens right through the spring 2010 semester.  A memorial service is planned for next week.  The family says, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the church Mathews attended, or to the College for Seniors where he most recently worked.

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