NYC Journalism Mourns One of its Own

Journalism as a trade is undergoing a strange shift, both in ideals and applications. As this is happening, there’s an Old Guard who carried the torch for traditional journalism their entire lives who are dying off, leaving a legacy and an example for others to follow. One of these is Jimmy Breslin, who passed away recently at the age of 88.

Breslin was more than a dynamic writer and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist. He will be remembered as a champion of the people, one of NYC’s shining voices in support of the working man. His columns in the New York Daily News served as a clarion call and a wake-up call, whichever was needed at the time, to rally people or to chastise those in power who had forgotten who they should serve.

Prolific is one of those terms which is thrown around a lot these days, especially when discussing someone who has passed on. But if a term ever applied to anyone, it certainly fit Breslin, who saw his byline not only in the Daily News but also in the New York Post, Newsday, New York Herald Tribune and the New York Journal American. In all times and in every venue his pen served the common folks, defending and proclaiming their value and their inherent rights.

Some New Yorkers will remember Breslin teaming up with fellow scribe Norman Mailer to challenge John Lindsay for mayor. The political bid came up short, of course, but that didn’t stop them from making their point.

Of course, Breslin’s name is also connected to one of NYC’s darkest times in recent memory. When David Berkowitz, the notorious Son of Sam serial killer, was on the loose, he frequently wrote to Breslin. The journalist refused to allow the killer to use him to help terrify the people. He always told Berkowitz the best thing would be to stop, to give himself up.

After his death, Breslin was eulogized by Senator Chuck Schumer, who said “…the sidewalks of New York have lost a great one… every day, Breslin showed how great the average New Yorker was…”

It was this voice that New York will miss the most. So many people know NYC as a place of places, the home of Times Square, Manhattan, and Lady Liberty. But those of us who live and work here have come to love the people – the dynamic, hardworking, talented, and creative people who really make this city thrive. That’s what Breslin brought every day, and we’re grateful for it.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.