Leo Bogart, R.I.P. (1921-2005)

leobogartLeo Bogart, a Polish-born, former U.S. Army Intelligence officer in World War II, who later applied his talents for analysis to the media in general, and tried to reverse the decline of American media, died Saturday in Manhattan.

During the 1960s, Dr. Bogart was among the first of analysts to detect and predict the since continuous declines in newspapers’ readerships, television news viewerships, and radio news listenerships. He later lamented that the print media industry wasn’t using methods of modern marketing analysis to stem those declines. He also argued that market forces shouldn’t be the only determinant of media content.

Author of more than a dozen books and hundreds of media trade journal articles (an example from 1996), Bogart was best known for applying scientific analysis on the editorial content of newspapers, magazines, and television and relating the results to readership and viewership.

He served as the executive vice president and general manager of the Newspaper Advertising Bureau; taught marketing at New York University, Columbia University and the Illinois Institute of Technology; and was a senior fellow at the Center for Media Studies at Columbia and a Fulbright research fellow in France. At the time of his death, Bogart was a director and senior consultant for Innovation, an international media consulting firm, and wrote a column for Presstime, the magazine of the Newspaper Association of America.

The New York Times today reported that Bogart died ten weeks after being diagnosed with babesiosis, a tick-borne, malaria-like disease that destroys red blood cells. Rarely infecting humans, babesiosis is typically found in coastal islands of the Northeast U.S.

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