First Editor Of The Washington Times Dies

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File photo of an archived copy of The Washington Times, the paper for which James R. Whelan served as the first editor. (Photo by STF/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of an archived copy of The Washington Times, the paper for which James R. Whelan served as the first editor. (Photo by STF/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The man who served as the first editor of The Washington Times and left in a public dispute with its Unification Church owners has died.

James R. Whelan died Saturday at his home in Miami of multiple organ failure. That’s according to his nephew Bill Halldin.

Whelan was recruited in 1982 to join the newly created newspaper. The paper was initially viewed with skepticism because it was started by a media company owned by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s South Korea-based Unification Church. Whelan said the five-day-a-week publication would be “a serious newspaper.”

He was out as editor two years later. Whelan charged that the newspaper was no longer editorially independent of the church, but his successors said he was fired over a contract dispute.

Whelan was 79.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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