Contributor, Saul Friedman

SaulFriedmanB Saul Friedman contributes two columns to Time Goes By. Each Saturday in Gray Matters (formerly in Newsday), he reports on and delves into just about every issue related to elders and helps navigate the intricacies of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Long Term Care.

His twice-monthly Reflections column is more personal, covering news, politics and social issues of the day from the perspective of a younger member of the greatest generation.

Friedman was born on Herbert Hoover's inauguration day, March 4, 1929, which accounts for his leftward politics. And after a boyhood in his native Brooklyn, he traveled the world as a reporter, first in Houston, Texas, for the Houston Chronicle, then in Detroit, for the Free Press, and in Washington for Knight-Ridder and finally Newsday.

During his reporting days, Friedman covered the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Montgomery bus boycott to Selma and Memphis. In 1963, Friedman won a Nieman Fellowship for a year's study at Harvard. He shared a Pulitzer Price for the Free Press coverage of the 1967 riots in Detroit.

With Knight-Ridder, Friedman covered the birth of the consumer movement with Ralph Nader, the anti-war movement, the impeachment of Richard Nixon, which earned him a Pulitzer nomination. He also covered a couple of wars in India and Israel, the presidencies of Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and eight years of Ronald Reagan.

After a year-long sabbatical to teach national and foreign affairs reporting at the Columbia School of Journalism, Friedman joined Newsday. When George H.W. Bush, who he had known in Houston, became president, Friedman shifted to foreign affairs covering then-Secretary of State James Baker. He was witness to some of the momentous events in recent history including the fall of the Berlin Wall and Soviet communism, the first Gulf War and the Middle East conference in Madrid that led to the tentative peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians and Israel and Jordan.

In 1996, Friedman left daily journalism to spend five months in South Africa teaching journalists, most of them young, how to deal with reporting in a brand new democracy. When he returned, Friedman founded his Gray Matters column, which was ahead of its time, as a survival guide for older people. Gray Matters moved from Newsday to Time Goes By in November 2009.

You can find a list of his Gray Matters columns here and his Reflections columns here.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 07:23 AM | Permalink


but does he challenge agiesm, the socially acceptable and even advanced prejudice against getting/being older and old?

Posted by: Bette Dewing on Feb 4, 2009 7:16:23 AM

Re your comment on "The Games We Played," my piece in the Feb. 9 issue of the Elder Storytelling Place in Ronni Bennett's blog, Times Go By....

You needed a stoop to play stoop ball. We had only 5-story tenements on Clarke Place, my Bronx block--no stoops. You obviously moved upscale to Brooklyn with its brownstones and multi-family houses--and stoops.

Posted by: Mort Reichek on Feb 9, 2009 6:47:03 PM

Now that Gray Matters will no longer be in Newsday, will it be available here?

Posted by: Marilin Engelman on Nov 2, 2009 8:07:17 AM

To: Mr. Saul Friedman. I am one of five editors of New Pathways for Aging, published by the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement. It is a collection of personal stories and theoretical insights by 20 contributors regarding retirement, loss, illness, relocation, resilience, courage, creativity and hope. Five analytical chapters elaborate on themes of identity, community, the culture of aging and mortality. We wish to have it reviewed for publication and would send a complimentary copy to you if you wish. Rhoada Wald

Posted by: Rhoada Wald on Nov 2, 2009 10:49:17 AM

Good call on the whole $5 per month website nonsense. What were they thinking? What are they smoking? Oh right, it's the guys who own the Knicks. You'll be missed every Sat. morning.

Posted by: Bob Emmerich on Nov 2, 2009 1:44:19 PM

Great to see you will still be writing at least on this website. Your writing is invaluable and important to the aging population that appears to be forgotten. Thank you.

Posted by: Deborah Carroll on Nov 2, 2009 5:19:51 PM

Hello, Saul Friedman:

I'm 82 and also from Brooklyn, mostly. Your writing speaks to me and I'm sure attracts readers who aren't our age. The truth is worth reading.
I too am a writer and quite a while ago have had stories published in some prominent publications. I've recently started a blog ( because I've started to write again after a long hiatus and I don't want my stuff to languish forever in "my documents". I've had a few stories published in good publications and hope it happens again. Life is what I'm trying to deal with, as always, and I think writing help keep me alive and well.

I'd welcome your comments and intend to read more of yours.

Gene Epstein

Posted by: gene epstein on Nov 2, 2009 7:27:04 PM


Just to let you know, Saul Friedman's Gray Matters column will appear on Time Goes By each Saturday beginning on 7 November.

Posted by: Ronni Bennett on Nov 3, 2009 6:25:52 AM

Dear Mr Friedman
My husband and I looked foreard to reading your column every week in Newsda.We are so glad we can now read you on this website. We have gotten so much wonderful information
thru the years from you.Wishing you well.

Posted by: Sandie Morris on Nov 3, 2009 6:55:08 AM

Bravo to Ronni Bennett for giving Saul Friedman back to all who need him to speak for them when no one else will or can.

Posted by: Lise Friedman Spiegel on Nov 3, 2009 9:12:51 PM

Good for you and thank you to Ronni Bennett. I write almost fiction about my clients who are seniors in Brooklyn and South Florida. They are published at

I am on the Board of Senior Umbrella Network of Brooklyn, a not for profit organization of professionals who serve seniors, "Inspired" by Actual Senior Issues. We would like to send you an email or a letter. How can we contact you?

Posted by: Caryn Isaacs on Nov 5, 2009 12:48:17 PM

Hi Saul,
My name is JR. I’m a reader and fan. If I understood you correctly, I thought I heard you say on NPR that you were in the business of communicating and that communication is at least two ways. I have some thoughts that I would like to share with you about why seniors are treated so differently in the U.S. compared to Europe or even in Japan. If you are interested in feedback on that issue, please email me at:

Also on a different issue as you are known for helping younger journalists get started, I’d really appreciate an opportunity to be able to communicate with you about some career advice. I know that you must be very busy so I don’t really know why you would take the time to write back to me as I am an obscure journalist. I can only say if you would please extend yourself to be willing to reply to me I would take your advice for many years to come and try with my writing to make a difference in people’s lives in a way that adds value to their lives. Thanks for taking that time to read this and thanks also for your great column. Best regards from JR

Posted by: JR on Nov 9, 2009 2:20:52 AM

My husband and I searched Newsday on Saturday,in vain. Luckily I went to a meeting of CORTLI (Coalition of Retired Teachers of Long Island ) and found you again Thank Goodness.
I need my Saturday " pick-up ".
Phoebe Hanft

Posted by: Phoebe Hanft on Nov 9, 2009 4:06:21 PM

I wanted to foward a letter that George Roach, from Suffolk County Legal Aide, Senior Division, They are being defunded and the money is going to Tauro Law School where they are setting up a clinic, probaly witht the law students. The fact that the 3 lawyers @ Legal Aide have over 30 years of experience in Elder law doesn't seem to matter. Can you e-mail me so that I can foward His letter that he sent to your old paper to you?
Us Old folks thank you for being theri & defending the needs of the elderly.
I am the Convenor of the Gray Panthers of Suffolk County.
Marilin Engelman

Posted by: Marilin Engelman on Nov 19, 2009 8:12:49 AM

.....boy do I miss your Saturday column in Newsday.
You are both an advocate for seniors as well as a most eloquent journalist. Along with the late Murray Kempton, you make journalism a literary treat for readers. Glad to see you are still at it. Only complaint is the earring.....c'mon, is a gray pony tail next? Stay cantankerous!

David E. Miller

Posted by: David Miller on Dec 5, 2009 4:59:58 PM

If Ms. Engelman will email me directly or give me her email, I'd be interested in looking into this'

Posted by: saul friedman on Jan 2, 2010 12:14:07 PM

I am a former Newsday employee. I left in April 2009. I worked there in Transportation and Circulation since 1972. It is truly a crying shame what has happened at Newsday.
I live with my 89 year old father and looked forward to your column every Saturday. I am glad I stumbled upon your new website. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: William Fowler on Mar 5, 2010 3:18:36 PM

I have had a google alert on you for a while and could not understand where you went. Please continue to write. YOU HAVE GIVEN SO MUCH TO US. I MISS YOU.

Posted by: Rosemary on Apr 22, 2010 11:08:44 AM


Hi, researching Helen Thomas I discovered you.I am now a free lance writer formerly a comedy PR @ a midtown showbiz agency & also A&E editor small Bklyn college student newspaper.Would like to email samples of my work on aging:
"I'm A Relic In A Playpen"
"&"Age Is Just A Numbers Game" My work is sometimes outrageous . . .
but always funny. How may Icontact you?

Posted by: D. Sugar on Jun 7, 2010 1:18:32 PM

I am 75 and writing my first book...all about aging...spent my 60s getting a PhD. in Human Development and Aging at Fielding Graduate University. It's absolutely the best time of my life. I have adopted you as a mentor as well as a magnificent inspirer. Thank you for being here.
Suzanne Baer, 6.20.2010

Posted by: Suzanne Baer on Jun 20, 2010 7:36:29 AM

Sadly I am posting that Saul passed away last Friday from stomach cancer. He was home at the time.

I am close to Saul’s age and am also a Brooklyn Boy. His column, Gray Matters, was for me the highlight of the Saturday paper. He and I e-mailed occasionally about the column, always with good humor.

Saul, you will be missed.

Sincere condolences to Evelyn and the family.

Posted by: Alan Reff on Dec 30, 2010 9:33:41 AM

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