Sergio Lepri, great master of journalism, passes away at 102

Farewell to Sergio Lepri, longtime editor of Ansa. A great master of journalism, he trained generations of younger colleagues. He passed away yesterday at the age of 102.

Sergio Lepri, one of the greatest masters of journalism in recent history, whose teachings shaped generations of younger colleagues, passed away yesterday in Rome at the age of 102. A historic director of Ansa, he had led the leading national news agency for nearly 30 years, from 1962 to 1990.

Born in Florence on September 24, 1919, he had studied at the Liceo Michelangiolo in his hometown and then graduated in philosophy from the University of Florence in 1940. Having become an army sergeant during World War II, he joined the Resistance after the armistice and in parallel began his first experiences as a journalist, in the underground newspaper L’Opinione, organ of the Florentine section of the Liberal Party. After the liberation of Florence on August 11, 1944, he became city secretary of the PLI. Instead, his internship dates from 1945-1946, at La Nazione del popolo, the newspaper of the Tuscan Committee for National Liberation, and his entry among professional journalists in 1946. Lepri worked at La Nazione del popolo; in the meantime becoming the Giornale del Mattino, until 1956. After some experience as press secretary (first spokesman for Amintore Fanfani, then head of the press service of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, with President Fanfani), he joined Ansa in 1960, of which he immediately became co-director in charge and then, from 1962, editor in chief.

Lepri was one of the first journalists to realize the potential of digital: in the 1970s, under his direction, Ansa became the first agency in Europe to have an electronic archive at a time when news was stored on paper, crammed onto shelves. A journalist valued for his independence, he had said that “The privilege of serious journalism is not to take sides. I came to journalism at the end of the war. Young people like me decided to be a journalist because it was a tool to enrich everyone’s wealth of information. A tool of knowledge, of democracy and freedom, as a service.”

Sergio Lepri’s experiences also include teaching at Luiss in Rome from 1988 to 2004: here he taught Information Language and Writing Techniques in the School of Journalism of the Faculty of Political Science. Fundamental were his contributions to teaching the craft of journalism, honored with numerous essays, including the Manual of Journalistic Language published by Etas in 1976 and 1983, and the more recent News. Handbook of Writing and Style for Written and Spoken Information (Rizzoli, 2011), as well as handouts for courses of the Order of Journalists. Awards include a medal from the National Council of the Order of Journalists on the occasion of his 100th birthday in 2019.

“With Sergio Lepri,” said President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, “passes away a prestigious editor, a master of professionalism and deontology for generations of journalists, and an attentive and participatory witness of long and decisive phases of Italian history.”

Sergio Lepri, great master of journalism, passes away at 102
Sergio Lepri, great master of journalism, passes away at 102

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