A Journalist Who Ignored Fidel Castro’s Casino Trick

Remembering a reporter who transitioned to a second career with PR Newswire

PR Newswire, in delivering today the news that former president David Steinberg passed away earlier this month at age 85 due to complications from surgery, includes a colorful detail involving Fidel Castro:

Steinberg was the first American journalist Castro invited to see “La Habana Nueva.” Eager for a positive review, Castro ordered casino croupiers to let Steinberg win every hand. Upon his return to New York, Steinberg filed a less-than-favorable report on the new regime. He was not invited back.

Steinberg, a native of the Bronx, was writing at the time for the New York Herald Tribune. He began his career with the paper while still in high school, working after-hours as a Wall Street messenger to collect handwritten stock quotes for the daily’s financial news statisticians. He became a full-time copy boy at the paper while attending college, progressing after graduation to copy editor and later business writer.

Steinberg was one of two inaugural recipients of a Gerald Loeb Award for distinguished business and finance reporting, in 1958. And it was after editing a temporary tabloid created during the 1963 New York newspaper strike that Steinberg joined PR Newswire. Although Steinberg retired as president and chief executive of PR Newswire in 1992, he continued to serve as vice chairman and as chairman of Canada Newswire until 2002. RIP.