National Security reporter David Morrison lost his job as a columnist for CQ in April. Then he died in his sleep in his Washington apartment on June 5. At 59. “My guess is was just plumb worn out,” wrote Spytalk‘s Jeff Stein in a lengthy memorial column for AND Magazine.
His life was rather dramatic. Writes Stein, “At the time, Morrison was looking for freelance work, the last chapter of a career that once produced some of the smartest, elegantly wrought reporting on national security issues around, even while he was reeling from heroin.”
Morrison left no note. His death was not considered or thought to be a suicide.
The reporter worked at National Journal in the 80s. He graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism. The story that put him on the map, writes Stein, was that of his heroin addiction that ran on the cover of the Washington City Paper in 1995. The byline reads: “By Anonymous.” NYT David Carr, formerly of WCP, had edited his work. It was Jack Shafer, now at Reuters, who edited his cover story.
In the story, some of his fellow journalists described him as “a talented and lovely soul” and “wise, funny, and grumpy.” Morrison’s brother said he’d been clean from drugs for 19 years and was a recovering member of Narcotics Anonymous.