Paul T. Broderick Sr., who spent his entire 50-year newspaper career at The Evening Sun, died Friday of heart failure at Lorien Nursing Home in Columbia. He was 88 and formerly lived in Catonsville.
He held various positions at the paper -- sports reporter, city reporter, photo editor, copy editor, news editor, assistant city editor, city editor -- and was an assistant managing editor when he retired in 1975.
When he joined the newspaper, the background music in the newsroom was provided by the noisy tapping of typewriter keys. When he retired, that sound had been replaced by the quiet hum of computers.
Mr. Broderick didn't like computers, had no intention of learning how to operate them and decided to retire.
Joking colleagues gave him a farewell cake in the shape of a computer.
"The newspaper world he had known was of not-so-good typewriters, hot type, breaking news, selling papers with the latest news, beating The Sun and News American -- and all that Paul left to the computers and the new ideas of another generation," said James Bready, retired Evening Sun editorial writer who writes a book column for The Sun.
Mr. Broderick "was the last Evening Sun city editor whose roots lay in the old-time 'Front Page' newspapering of J. Edwin Murphy (former Evening Sun managing editor) and the newsmen of the rTC Twenties," wrote Evening Sun staffer Carl Schoettler in the paper's final edition last year.
"He valued speed, accuracy and reliability. He liked a turn of a phrase. And he loved bank robberies, murders and the elevation of cardinals," Mr. Schoettler wrote.
"One thing about Paul," recalled Mr. Bready, "he knew Baltimore street by street, firehouse by firehouse, politician by politician and priest by priest.
"And you damn well didn't get the streets wrong. He also knew people the same way. He could visualize Baltimore block by block."
Mr. Broderick was born and raised at Parkins and Hollins streets in Southwest Baltimore and attended Loyola High School and City College, quitting at 17 to join The Evening Sun as a "news gatherer."
A somewhat beefy man with thinning hair combed straight back, he was noted for his Olympian calm when directing coverage of a breaking news story or during a crisis.
He placed a high value on punctuality and demanded it of others. His first piece of advice to a new reporter was, "Be on time, kid."
Mr. Broderick was never seen in the newsroom without a white shirt and necktie, and he expected his reporters to follow his example. Any reporter not wearing a tie was sent home to get one.
Among the rookie reporters he supervised were Louis Rukeyser, host of public television's acclaimed "Wall Street Week"; noted sportscaster Jim McKay; and William Manchester, award-winning historian and author.
Mr. Broderick once described Mr. Manchester as "very good but slow. And he couldn't spell either. He was a lousy speller."
A devout Catholic who had a brother who was a priest, Mr. Broderick said a highlight of his career occurred in 1965 when he was sent to Rome to report on the elevation of Archbishop Lawrence Shehan to the College of Cardinals. For a while after that, his colleagues called him "The Cardinal."
Mr. Broderick married Virginia McFee, a secretary in The Sun's advertising department, in 1936.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Mark Roman Catholic Church, 27 Melvin Ave., Catonsville.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Paul "Tim" Broderick Jr. of Catonsville; a daughter, Virginia "Annie" Meeth of Clarkston, Mich.; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Pub Date: 11/05/96