Paul M. Rodriguez, an investigative reporter for The Washington Times who covered the White House over three administrations, died Saturday from brain cancer. He was 61.
Known for his aggressive reporting that sparked reform on Capitol Hill, colleagues and family remembered Mr. Rodriguez’s balance of hard-driven news gathering and helping hand style of editing.
“He was that rare breed: He was a pit bull of journalism and he was brilliant and kind,” broadcaster Jim Bohannon said. “He was a good, hard-nosed investigative journalist but Paul was very witty and articulate.”
Mr. Rodriguez was a D.C. native who was raised in Haiti, Venezuela and Texas before settling in the Washington area in 1965.
His Washington journalism career began in the 1970s, when he worked as the chief White House correspondent for the Bureau of National Affairs Inc.
Mr. Rodriguez covered the White House during the Ford and Carter administrations and for five years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. He also worked as both a reporter and bureau chief for States News Service before joining The Washington Times in February 1989.
During his time as an investigative reporter covering Capitol Hill, Mr. Rodriguez broke stories on the House bank and post office scandals, and uncovered the male prostitution ring run out of the Capitol Hill home of former Rep. Barney Frank.
Douglas D. M. Joo, president of The Washington Times from 1992-2007, called Mr. Rodriguez “a fearless investigative journalist” who “had a profound sense of courage to tell the truth in his coverage.”
“Above all, Paul was deeply committed to his family and he was an outstanding leader,” he added.
In 1994, Mr. Rodriguez became the managing editor of Insight magazine, a weekly publication of The Times Corp.
He was a regular fixture on news talk shows and radio programs, including NBC’s “Meet the Press,” NewsTalk TV, and he was a permanent substitute host on CBS Radio’s “The Mary Matalin Show.”
He joined public relations firm Burson-Marsteller in 2006, a change his wife, Katherine Long, said was “very different for him.”
“He made the transition,” she said of his leaving journalism. “He did a pretty good job there.”
Mr. Rodriguez was living in Alexandria at the time of his death. He had three children.