Knoxville — Former University of Tennessee journalism professor, author and Pulitzer Prize administrator John Hohenberg has died of colon cancer at age 94.
Hohenberg taught most of his career at Columbia University, but was a distinguished professor at UT in the 1980s.
UT journalism professor Jim Crook said Hohenberg helped make the public understand the value of the press.
“Professor Hohenberg had a wonderful ability to summarize public concerns about the press and respond to those concerns to explain the American free enterprise system and the American free press system and how the two interact and benefit the American public and make society operate better,” Crook said.
Hohenberg also served as administrator of the Pulitzer Prize from 1954 to 1976. Crook said he probably knew more about the prize than anyone else.
“He probably understood the Pulitzer prizes better than anyone who had worked with them to that point,” Crook said. “He knew all the strengths and weaknesses of a national prize system and the Pulitzer focused America’s attention on the best of journalism as judged by the journalists’ own peers.
“This is not a vote of the American people, but of a journalist’s peers saying this is the best American press performance in a particular year. The Pulitzer hasn’t been without criticism, but John was able to put that in some perspective and show how the press really does serve the American people in this kind of free and open society.”
Private funeral services for Hohenberg were held Tuesday in Knoxville.