Camp Take-a-Stand derives its name from the journalistic career of David Halberstam, to whom this week with young, aspiring journalists is dedicated.

Halberstam took many stands in his fifty-year career in reporting and writing about many of the most tumultuous events of the twentieth century inside and outside the United States. He took a stand against governmental censorship of the public's right to know and the reporter's right to inform that public. That included a valiant stand against high U.S. military officials in Vietnam who tried to sugarcoat the worsening state of the war there for the U.S. He repeatedly took a stand against his own newspapers, especially The New York Times, threatening to resign one of the most sought-after-correspondence assignments in his profession if the Times showed signs of journalistic cowardliness or was cowed by pressure from the White House when he was in Vietnam.

Halberstam took a stand against his own colleagues who were lazy, sycophantic or simply worked the official-source journalism beat. He believed to get the story you have to leave your office and go to where the story is unfolding. He took a stand to defend his colleagues when they were subjected to intimidation or manhandling by the authorities.

Throughout his long career, he took a stand against humbug, deceit, cover-up, reliance on secondary or tertiary sources, manipulation, whether he confronted those traits among his governmental, corporate or foreign assignments or within his own professions and at graduate journalism schools.

If one sentence were to be chosen to describe David Halberstam, it would be: He took a stand for the truth and did so indefatigably for the citizenry's right to know.

(April 10, 1934 -- April 23, 2007)

Born in 1934, in New York City, the son of a U.S. Army surgeon, David Halberstam grew up in several locations, including Winsted, CT, before his family settled in Yonkers, NY, where he attended high school. He went from there to Harvard College where he became the managing editor of The Crimson.

Following graduation in 1955, Halberstam began his journalism career reporting on the civil right struggles in the South. In 1960 he joined The New York Times and was soon sent to cover revolution in Congo and then the escalating war in Vietnam.

Reporting on what he saw in the field, Halberstam filed reports in Vietnam that contrasted starkly with the more rosy official statements from the U.S. government on the war's progress. So unhappy with Halberstam's articles, President John F. Kennedy went as far as to urge the Times' publisher to reassign their correspondent elsewhere.

The Times' publisher refused and Halberstam was awarded the 1964 Pulitzer Prize for his powerful and accurate reporting on the war. Eight years later he chronicled what went wrong in Vietnam, and how smart and able men in government propelled the U.S. into a conflict considered "unwinnable," in his book The Best and the Brightest, which became a classic.

Halberstam applied the same tireless, truth-searching approach to writing books as he did to his reporting. After leaving daily journalism, he went on to author more than 20 books on topics as varied as the Vietnam War, civil rights, the auto industry, the 1950s and professional sports. More than a dozen books were best-sellers. Halberstam's last book, The Coldest Winter, about the Korean War, was published shortly after his death. His colleagues and admirers created a book tour and book signing in his memory during the fall of 2007.

Known for his courage, wide-ranging curiosity, exhaustive research, and refusal to be intimidated or co-opted, Halberstam was also a great believer and champion of young journalists. In fact, when he died as a passenger in a car collision in Menlo Park, CA, coming back from speaking at the UC Berkley journalism school, he was coming back from what he loved best: encouraging aspiring young journalists. This is the impetus for Camp Take-a-Stand.