managing editor, Detroit Free Press
Frank Angelo (born in 1914) excelled in a variety of positions at two of the nation’s largest daily newspapers and guided one of them through one of the most turbulent times in our nation’s history. A Detroit native, Angelo attended City College (later Wayne State University) during the Depression. He worked for the Detroit News as a high school correspondent and maintained that contact throughout his college career. After his graduation in June 1934, he became a part-time copy boy and eventually became a writer and editor in the sports department. In 1941, one week before Pearl Harbor, he joined the Free Press sports staff. It was the beginning of a 40-year career with the paper. Following his Navy service, Angelo returned to the paper and was appointed managing editor in 1955. That year was memorable for labor news as the UAW was negotiating for the revolutionary Guaranteed Annual Wage. Angelo worked closely with Lee Hills, who won a Pulitzer Prize for “aggressive, resourceful and comprehensive” coverage of the talks.
Angelo remained managing editor until April 1971. During that time, the Free Press was awarded another Pulitzer Prize for the coverage of the 1967 Detroit riots. When the Free Press won the award, Angelo said, “Ours is the finest local staff in the country. If you can be proud and humble at the same time, that’s what I am.” Angelo continued on at the Free Press from 1971 to 1981 as associate executive editor.
In addition to his work, Angelo has a long record of leadership in journalism organizations. He served as president of the Michigan Press Association in 1969 after holding many other offices, including co-chairman of MPA’s Freedom of Information Committee in 1965. He was also the national president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Society of Professional Journalists. He is also the author of several books, including On Guard: A History of the Detroit Free Press and Yesterday’s Michigan. Angelo has been a working professional with high standards. He has taught scores of other reporters how to practice their profession and documented history for journalists of the future.