Gershon Fishbein

Gershon Fishbein dies; Post editor, newsletter

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Gershon Fishbein, 88, a former Washington Post assistant city editor who
started an independent newsletter publishing company that he ran for more
than 25 years, died March 29 of a heart attack at his home in Bethesda.

Mr. Fishbein's journalism career spanned more than 50 years and began when
he was hired at age 16 to cover sports part time for The Post. He served two
other stints at The Post, as a full-time reporter from 1939 to 1941 and as
assistant city editor from 1949 to the mid-1950s.

He worked for Television Digest and Medical Tribune in the late 1950s.
Realizing that environmental regulation would be an increasingly important
issue, he opened the publishing company Environews in 1961.

His inaugural publication was the Environmental Health Letter, which
appeared the year before Rachel Carson launched the modern environmental
movement with the book "Silent Spring." The subscription-based newsletter
informed legislators and industry insiders about the important and often
nitty-gritty policy developments in Washington.

In 1971, he started the Occupational Health and Safety newsletter and 10
years later launched Genetic Engineering Letter.

Mr. Fishbein helped organize the Newsletter Publishers Association (now the
Newsletter and Electronic Publishers Association) and led a successful push to
get congressional press credentials for newsletter writers.

After selling his company in the late 1980s, he continued to write about
international health care on a freelance basis.

Gershon Fishbein was a native of Washington and a 1939 graduate of the old
Central High School, whose alumni newsletter he edited until his death. He
graduated in 1943 from George Washington University.

After two years of reporting full time for The Post, Mr. Fishbein joined the
Associated Press and then served in the Army during World War II. While
stationed in Paris, he wrote for the Stars and Stripes and for the International
Herald Tribune.

He was a volunteer with the Arc of Montgomery County and a member of
Congregation Har Tzeon-Agudath Achim, a synagogue in Silver Spring.

His wife of 47 years, the former Phyllis Shapiro, died in 1995.

Survivors include four children, Alan Fishbein of Columbia, Larry Fishbein of
Olney, Jeff Fishbein of Silver Spring and Janice Hyman of Rockville; and five

-- Emma Brown