NEW YORK (AP) — In a story Feb. 25 about the death of former Associated Press and Wall Street Journal correspondent Barry Kramer, The Associated Press included a quote that misstated the year of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam. It was 1968.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Barry Kramer, who covered the Vietnam War for AP, dead at 78
From Saigon's black market during the Vietnam War to the slums of India and the frontiers of science: Former Associated Press and Wall Street Journal correspondent Barry Kramer dead at 78
By EDITH M. LEDERER
NEW YORK (AP) — Barry Kramer, who covered the Vietnam War for The Associated Press and went on to a 30-year career at The Wall Street Journal reporting from Asia and rising to deputy foreign editor, has died. He was 78 years old.
Kramer died Friday at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center after a 20-year battle with cancer.
Kramer's globe-trotting career took him from Saigon's black market during the Vietnam War to the slums of India, the Philippines under dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and the frontiers of science and medicine.
Hired by the AP after graduating from the Columbia University School of Journalism in 1963, he spent a year in the Newark, New Jersey bureau. With the Vietnam War heating up, he joined the Army Reserves, and was sent to learn Chinese for a year at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California.
When Kramer returned to AP, he spent a year as an editor on its national desk before being sent to Saigon in 1967.
"With unrivaled contacts in the Saigon political scene, Kramer was in good position to cover the political implications of the communist Tet Offensive that erupted across Saigon and 40 other towns and districts on January 31, 1968," said Peter Arnett, a Pulitzer Prize-winning AP war correspondent who worked with Kramer in Vietnam. "He also broke stories from sources in the official U.S. community about increasing corruption within the South Vietnamese armed forces, problems in the pacification program, and rising inflation."
Two weeks after one of his stories on corruption was bylined on the front page of The New York Times, he got called up "punitively" for not attending Army Reserve meetings, Kramer said in an oral history for Rutgers University, where he did his undergraduate degree. It happened even though he had been put in a standby reserve unit when AP assigned him to Vietnam.
Kramer spent nine months at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, working for a special forces unit writing psychological profiles of various foreign leaders before returning to the AP's world desk in New York.
He eventually took a job with The Wall Street Journal writing about science and medicine, his first interest, for six years. He said in the oral history that he "had a lot of fun doing that ... but kept asking, 'Can I go to Asia?' for the Journal."
When the newspaper's former Vietnam correspondent Peter Kann was appointed editor-in-chief of the brand new Asian Wall Street Journal in 1976, Kramer was named to replace him as Asia correspondent for the U.S. Journal, based in Hong Kong and covering 32 countries.
Most of the time, Kramer wrote news features and covered general news, including the border war between China and Vietnam in February 1979.
"There was no business news out of Asia, in those days," Kramer said. "If the countries weren't Communist, they were very autocratic."
Kramer later became a senior editor on the Journal's foreign desk and was the deputy foreign editor by the time retired in 2001.
"The one thing that really stood out was that he had a very, very strong commitment to quality in journalism and ethics in journalism," Roger Ricklefs, a former Page One editor at the Wall Street Journal, said late Monday. "He had very high standards for what he wrote and also for the stories he edited."
Author Julie Salamon, a former Wall Street Journal film critic, said: "Barry was a great collector — of stamps, artifacts, information, Chinese restaurants and people."
"He began as a work friend and became part of our family," she said. "We traveled to many far-off places together but you didn't have to go anywhere to enjoy Barry's company. The curiosity that made him a top-notch reporter also made him a unique and valuable friend."
He was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 1998, which is on the Pentagon's list on illnesses that Vietnam veterans receive compensation for because of Agent Orange.
Kramer is survived by a sister.