Charles Peters, Washington Monthly founder, dies at 96

WASHINGTON (AP) — Charles Peters, the founder of the Washington Monthly who championed progressive ideas for decades, has died. He was 96.


Peters died Wednesday in Washington of natural causes, said his stepdaughter, Tracy Sefl.

Peters was a Washington insider whose career bridged the worlds of journalism and politics — working as an editor for The Washington Post, the editor of Newsweek Magazine and an aide in the Lyndon Johnson White House.

But it was in 1969 when Peters launched the Washington Monthly that he made his mark. He created the magazine out of a belief in “public service journalism,” an idea that the magazine should inform citizens and encourage them to get involved in public life.

Over the years, the magazine became a leading voice for liberal ideas, most notably from its man at the helm. In 1979, Peters wrote an influential article calling for raising taxes on the richest Americans to pay for social programs. He went on to be an advocate of same-sex marriage.

But Peters was never one to embrace labels.

“You have people in the Democratic Party who are against abortion and people in the Republican Party who are for it,” he once said. “I think the labels have gotten increasingly less meaningful.”

Peters stepped down as editor of the publication in 1989 and changed its focus from a magazine to a publication devoted to research. He remained active and took an editorial lead until 2006, the year he left his position as editor in chief.

Peters’ legacy lives on in the magazine and in the career paths of those he encouraged, Sefl said.

“He helped so many people find their way into public service,” she said, adding that he will be remembered as “a champion for progressive causes.”

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