The award–winning journalist, teacher and mentor had served as executive director, news and public affairs, for KQED Public Radio since 1991.
The KQED community mourns the death of KQED Public Radio’s Executive Director, News and Public Affairs, Raul Ramirez, who passed away today at age 67 after a brief fight with esophageal cancer. In his 22 years at KQED Public Radio, Ramirez led its award-winning state and regional news service and was instrumental in building it into a top-rated public radio station. Ramirez was recently awarded the 2013 Distinguished Service to Journalism Award by the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter. In 1999, the same organization honored him with a Career Achievement Award. Ramirez was deeply committed to preserving the high standards of journalistic integrity, public service and investigative reporting, and has long been a vocal advocate for diversity in journalism.
“Since he joined KQED in 1991, Raul has played a central role in expanding and shaping KQED news and public affairs,” said Jo Anne Wallace, vice president and general manager of KQED Public Radio. “Raul’s commitment to journalism ethics was a major influence on all of the work we’ve done at KQED. He insisted on fact-based, accurate reporting that avoided the sensational and, instead, told meaningful stories about the impact of news and issues on the lives of ordinary people.”
Wallace added: “Raul was a man of ideas, and he had a huge heart. He cared deeply about colleagues and friends he worked with. Our reporters and producers, hosts and news anchors loved talking with him about stories ideas and coverage they’d like to do in the future. He directed the newsroom day to day, and he mentored and taught his staff to become better journalists. He will be missed extraordinarily by all of us at KQED.”
“In more than 20 years in leadership roles here, Raul Ramirez has definitely left his mark on KQED’s journalism and both KQED and the community we serve are the beneficiaries,” said John Boland, KQED president. “Raul always insisted on the highest levels of quality and ethics with a deep respect for the intelligence of our audience. In his memory, we will always aspire to the high standards he set for us.”
Ramirez is survived by his husband, Tony Wu. He is also survived by his sister, Miriam Gargiulo of West Palm Beach, Fla.; two brothers, Michael Greenhill of Wellington, Fla., and Eduardo Ramirez of Reddick, Fla.; three nephews and three nieces. The Raul Ramirez Diversity in Journalism Fund has been established at San Francisco State University. Ramirez requested that donations in his memory be made to that fund. For Ramirez’s full obituary, please visit KQED’s News Fix.
Ramirez was born in 1946 in Havana. A graduate of University of Florida in Gainesville, his career included work as a reporter for The Miami Herald and The Washington Post, and as a reporter and editor for the Oakland Tribune and the San Francisco Examiner, where he led the paper’s investigative team. He served as the president of the board of the Center for Investigative Reporting in the 1990s and has won numerous awards for local, national and international reporting, including a Thomas Storke Award from the World Affairs Council of Northern California for his reporting on a family’s journey from rural Guandong Province in China to the San Francisco area, and a 1989 Penney-Missouri Award as a coeditor of the San Francisco Examiner‘s unique series “Gay in America.”
He was also a long-time teacher and mentor. He taught for many years at San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley, where he inspired students with his classes in introductory journalism and investigative reporting. Many have gone on to successful reporting careers at KQED, NPR and other media outlets.
KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. Home to the most listened-to public radio station in the nation, one of the highest rated public television services and a leader in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration — exposing them to new people, places and ideas.
While other news organizations have shrunk, KQED has expanded its efforts to cover the issues and events that are important to the Bay Area. As the most trusted source of news in the Bay Area, KQED News is now a multiplatform operation with offices and bureaus in San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, Fresno and Los Angeles. KQED News offerings on television, radio and online include KQED NEWSROOM, current affairs specials produced in collaboration with The Center for Investigative Reporting, The California Report, Forum with Michael Krasny, 18 news broadcasts on KQED Public Radio, daily and the popular blogs News Fix, State of Health, Mindshift and The Lowdown. Stories from all KQED news programs are featured online at KQEDnews.org.