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Editing Icon Passes

George Crutchfield, former director of the School of Mass Communications at VCU, dies.

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George T. Crutchfield, longtime journalism professor and gatekeeper of the printed word, passed away Tuesday morning at his home in Powhatan County. He died of congestive heart failure.

Crutchfield, 77, was former director of Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Mass Communications and founder (and 1990 inductee) of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. A former Associated Press reporter and meticulous copy editor, Crutchfield retired from teaching in 1999 but continued working as a writing coach and editor for various publications almost until his death.

Crutchfield's influence spanned two generations of reporters and editors in Richmond and across the state. A guardian of journalistic ethics and rigid fact-checking, he uncompromisingly challenged students to check every fact, no matter how seemingly slight.

“If your mother says she loves you, check it out,” he was fond of telling students.

Among his many awards, Crutchfield was the recipient of the Virginia Press Association's 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award and the George Mason Award from the Virginia Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife, Frances, received the Distinguished Service Award from SPJ last year.Aÿ

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