(Sept. 15, 1915-Nov. 27, 1997). Harvey C. Jacobs was born in Trafalgar, Indiana, and grew up in Central Indiana. He attended Franklin College and graduated with degrees in journalism and English. He began his journalism career as a reporter, editorial writer, and columnist for The Franklin Evening Star. He served as director of public relations at Franklin College and as head of the journalism program.

From there, he became an editor of the Rotarian magazine and undersecretary of Rotary International. He founded and became chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications at New Mexico State University, where he also served as the director of the Center for Broadcasting and International Relations.

His greatest renown, though, came from the nearly 20 years he spent as editorial page editor of The Indianapolis News and director of the Pulliam Fellowship. As editor of The News, a role he assumed in 1974, he wrote a twice-weekly column and oversaw the production of the editorial and op-ed pages.

A believer that newspaper opinion pages should be classic marketplaces of ideas, he featured a broad array of columnists including Ellen Goodman, David Broder, Rheta Grimsley Johnson, and William F. Buckley Jr. on the News’ editorial and op-ed pages.

Often honored by the Hoosier State Press Association and the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists for his editorial and column writing, Jacobs was regarded as a master stylist, one whose prose combined folksiness and lyricism to powerful effect. While he could and did write occasional pieces of pointed political criticism, he most often penned columns that explored and celebrated life in the American Midwest.

As director of the Pulliam Fellowship—one of the premier journalism internship programs in the nation—he helped launch the careers of two Pulitzer Prize winners: Jacqui Banaszynksi, who won for her special report entitled “AIDS in the Heartland” for the St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch (1988), and Joseph T. Hallinan, for the Indianapolis Star investigative report on medical malpractice in Indiana (1991). He also was the author of several books, including We Came Rejoicing (1967) and Hugging The Heartland (1990).

Jacobs was elected to the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in 1991. The selection committee for the honor touted his gifts as a writer and as a discerning editor who could refine and improve other writers’ prose without altering their style or intent.

Jacobs retired as News editorial page editor in 1992 and returned to his alma mater, Franklin College, to serve as editor and writer in residence. He taught classes there as he worked on a novel, which he never finished. He died on Thanksgiving Day, 1997, at age 82.

Revised June 2021

Help improve this entry

Contribute information, offer corrections, suggest images.

You can also recommend new entries related to this topic.