Norman Sandler, RIP
End June 18 Column

Norman Sandler, journalist, dies at 53

[see also my Norman Sandler Tribute Site at]

Award-winning journalist Norman D. Sandler, a former White House correspondent for United Press International (UPI), was found dead in his Washington, D.C. apartment on June 4. He was 53.

The cause of death has not been determined.

Sandler covered the Reagan and George H.W. Bush presidencies for UPI, and later served as a corporate communications official. At the White House, Sandler served with venerable UPI correspondent Helen Thomas, frequently travelling with the president on Air Force One. Sandler served as president of the White House Correspondents Association, and received the Association's 1990 and 1991 Merriman Smith Memorial Award for excellence in presidential news coverage under deadline pressure.

After he left UPI, he served with the Washington communications and public affairs firm of Powell Tate, founded by Jody Powell (press secretary to President Jimmy Carter) and Sheila Tate (press secretary to former first lady Nancy Reagan). Sandler worked for more than a decade as a public affairs and communications official for Motorola Inc., of Schaumburg, Ill. Sandler dealt most often with questions of the safety of cellular telephones; until shortly before his death, he was director of Strategic Global Issues Management for the company.

Sandler grew up in Des Moines and Fairfield, Iowa, before moving on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he was selected Outstanding Freshman in 1972. While at MIT, Sandler served four years on the student newspaper, The Tech, rising to the position of executive editor.

He graduated from MIT in 1975 with both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in political science. His master's thesis, 28 years of looking the other way: Congressional Oversight of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1947-1975, was published; copies were purchased by the CIA for its archives. Sandler was closely associated with the late Edwin Diamond, a senior lecturer in the MIT political science department. He was a student co-founder of Diamond's News Study Group, and co-authored Telecommunications in Crisis: The First Amendment, Technology, and Deregulation.

Sandler worked briefly at the Boston bureau of UPI, doing weekend and fill-in work while attending MIT, then returned to Iowa and served for several years in the Des Moines bureau, frequently covering politics and appearing on local radio and television public affairs programs. UPI transferred him to its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he started out on the midnight-8 a.m. shift, frequently filing stories for UPI Audio. He quickly rose to a position in the White House bureau.

A private family funeral service was scheduled for Sandler for Monday, June 11, at Hillside Memorial Park, 6001 Centinela Ave., Los Angeles. A memorial service is planned for Washington, D.C., in July.

Sandler was survived by his mother Jacquelyn of Los Angeles; three brothers, Richard, of Chicago, Nathan, of Los Angeles, and Randal, of Greenwich, Conn.; and by his former wife, Raeanne Hytone, of Washington, D.C.

[Members of the UPI downhold wire and Sandler's relatives contributed to this story]