David Halvorsen; Former Editor of the San Francisco Examiner

David E. Halvorsen, former editor of the San Francisco Examiner who had chaired the California Freedom of Information Committee, died Wednesday at the age of 60.

Halvorsen, who had suffered from an inoperable brain tumor, died at his home in San Francisco.

He served as editor of the Bay Area paper from 1982 to 1985 and was its managing editor for the previous six years. Halvorsen formed the paper’s investigative reporting team and directed coverage of the mass suicide of 912 followers of the Rev. Jim Jones in Guyana. One of the paper’s photographers, Greg Robinson, was killed while covering Jonestown, and reporter Tim Reiterman (now a deputy metropolitan editor at The Times) was wounded.

A native of Peoria, Ill., who was raised in Iowa, Halvorsen was educated at Loras College in Dubuque and at the University of Missouri.


He worked for the Chicago Tribune for 15 years, rising from reporter to city editor, assistant managing editor and assistant to the editor.

After he left the Examiner in 1985, Halvorsen was editor in chief of the Alameda Newspaper Group based in Hayward for four years. He accepted a Fulbright grant to lecture and write in Korea, where he had served with the U.S. Army.

Last year, he was a journalism fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu and completed a special report on the Korean press.

Halvorsen served on the board of directors of the Associated Press Managing Editors and was active in the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the American Press Institute and the Associated Press News Executives Council.


Survivors include his wife, Kum Ja; a son, David Jr.; two daughters, Laura and Andrea; his mother, Lillian Ervay, and sister, Harriet Cramer, both of Nora Springs, Iowa.