Tom Peterson passed away this morning.
He was just 59, and died from complications from an aneurysm in his brain.
You may remember Peterson’s work as LEO’s media critic, a position he held for many years before becoming Executive in Residence at the University of Louisville’s College of Business. I remember, even back to the ’90s, when Peterson’s column was the most-anticipated part of the LEO, at least for those of us in the media. You never who he was going to take on in his column, which was the talk of newsrooms all over town. In a business fueled by rumors, he always got his facts right.
A friend described the way he was known in the city: “He knew local journalism — its history, practitioners and institutions. As a media critic, he wrote authoritatively and masterfully. Everyone respected him.”
I got to know him during my days at Business First, when I became one of his many sources for media news. It was Peterson who inspired me to start writing about media, and I felt privileged to succeed him as media columnist at LEO. His advice, I remember, was to spend as much time focusing on the positive side of the media’s work as on the negative.
Tom was a regular at Society of Professional Journalism events, and even monitored a panel I was part of. He was always professional, sincere and had a great sense of humor.
Just this year, I asked Tom for a huge favor, to vouch for me for a job I wanted. He replied with this: “I’d be glad to lie for you.”
According to a note on Facebook:
A Memorial Gathering will be held in his honor this Sunday, November 13 from 1PM until 3:30PM at Creation Gardens Marketplace Hall, 725 East Market Street. There will be a brief program shortly after 1 PM followed by an opportunity to visit and remember Tom.