Hatfield Journalist — Whose Career Spanned Newsprint to Blogs — Files a Byline No More

man with newspaper
Image via the Donaldson family at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Fred Donaldson.

Fred Donaldson, after a 60-year journalism journey, reached his final chapter back in May. Gary Miles, in The Philadelphia Inquirer, filed a remembrance of this Hatfield reporter who chronicled stories regionally, nationally, and globally.

Donaldson’s term with the Fourth Estate began in 1959 as an Evening Bulletin copy boy — a deliverer of typed stories from one publishing department to another. He was eventually promoted as a rewrite editor.

His emerging diligence and moxie earned him the name “Fearless Fred.” The moniker fit, evidenced by decisions like his solo stop-the-presses call in 1963 to revise the afternoon Bulletin with the Dallas news about President Kennedy.

Two years later, Donaldson was writing, editing, and designing for a coalition of suburban newspapers. He rose through the ranks to become CEO of that publishing business.

His trademark viewpoint — unabashed iconoclasm — earned him the nickname Crusader Rabbit from his wife. She felt it apt to compare him to the armored cartoon character on horseback with a lance.

Donaldson remained in the industry as it transitioned online. In 2007, he scaled back his career to consulting but still found time to blog, even in his Fla. “retirement.”

Reflecting on the loss, his wife said, “A man with a softer heart than Fred would be hard to find. He was a really generous person.”

More on Fred Donaldson is at The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Donaldson is survived by his wife, whose favorite nickname for him was Crusader Rabbit, based on this 1950s cartoon.