Sid Yudain, who in 1955 founded the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call to cover Congress like a small town, has died at age 90 in Washington.
Staid in comparison to newcomers The Hill and Politico, Roll Call always aimed to be nonpartisan. Now owned by the Economist Group, the paper is published weekdays when Congress is in session and distributed free on Capitol Hill and to the White House.
Roll Call provides news and analysis of the legislative and electoral process as well as coverage of Capitol Hill personalities.
As a community newspaper, it encouraged Capitol Hill denizens to participate in clubs, organizations and sports activities. The paper traditionally awarded an annual "Outstanding Staffer" prize and for decades had the small but influential Capitol Hill readership mostly to itself.
Yudain, who died Sunday, came to Congress in January 1951 as a congressional staffer and realized there was a need for a Capitol Hill newspaper.
"After getting to know and respect these dedicated people, after savoring the unique ambiance of congressional life, and mindful of the worldwide importance of the congressional community, I decided to establish a newspaper to serve that community, a paper that would be a cohesive force, a community instrument, a complement to an unfairly neglected segment of government," he wrote in his last column for Roll Call
on May 1, 1988.
"Throughout the 32 years that Sid owned Roll Call, the paper chronicled life on the Hill and promoted a community spirit where members and staffers of all political persuasions could come together to celebrate their common service to the American People," former Rep. Tom Davis said on the House floor
when Yudain marked his 80th birthday.
One of Yudain's legacies was to restart the Congressional Baseball Game in 1962. The game, now in its 52nd year, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities.
In that final 1988 Roll Call column, Yudain concluded: "And so, with the ovations, testimonials, and awards a distant memory, I slip off into another sphere. Thanks for your support, thanks for your friendship, and thanks for the memories."
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