Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Impactful newspaper adviser passes

A tribute to Sam Martino

Former Royal Purple adviser and award-winning journalist Samuel Clifford Martino died Saturday, April 20. He was 85 years old.

Martino was born in Clarksburg, West Virginia Feb. 5, 1939 before moving to Dearborn, Michigan, where he would start his career as a “shoe leather” journalist with the Dearborn Guide and Detroit Times. He attended Michigan State University, where he studied journalism and was the state editor for the Lansing State Journal.

He worked with many different news organizations post-graduation, including the Associated Press, Washington Post, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Capital Times, Minneapolis Tribune, and the Milwaukee Journal. On top of reporting for these organizations, he was also a public information specialist in the Army National Guard, reporting on the 1967 Detroit riot.

Following his 27-year tenure with the Milwaukee Journal, he retired from the organization and joined the teaching staff at UW-Whitewater. While at UW-W, he was the advisor of the Royal Purple, where he “inspired future journalists,” as his obituary describes.

“He was not only a wonderful teacher but a supporter who would not accept anything but my very best,” Earl Arms said of Martino in a public guestbook. “He’s certainly one of the reasons I have been able to make a career out of journalism.”

Most recently, Martino worked as a regular contributor to the Edgerton Reporter, continuing to establish his legacy as an old-school journalist.

“Sam leaves behind a rich legacy of journalism that impacted people around our community and the country,” Edgerton Reporter publisher Diane Everson said. “We remember not only his skilled journalism, we think of his virtues, living with integrity and always acting with kindness.”

Throughout his years as a journalist, he was nominated for many different awards, including a Pulitzer Prize. The Society of Professional Journalists named him Journalist of the Year in 1974, and he received United Press International’s top news writing award in 1975.

Alongside his journalism career, Martino was also a fan of the outdoors. According to his obituary, he “was an active runner completing over 25 marathons, skied the American Birkebeiner multiple times and enjoyed camping and hiking.”

Kevin Hoffman, a Royal Purple editor under Martino, called him the reason that many of his students fell in love with journalism. He also said that Martino would often push student journalists to ask the tough questions and hold people in power accountable.

Martino never wanted students to shy away from a story because it was too large for a student newspaper.

He once even tried to talk me into calling the White House to see if I could get a comment from the president,” Hoffman said.

Many people knew Martino as a man who made a difference in their lives. His large, positive impact as both a journalist and a person is undeniable, and he surely left his impact on the Warhawk community.

“Mr. Martino was one of a kind, and fondly remembered by those of us fortunate enough to be advised by him at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater journalism department,” Alyssa Skiba said in a public guestbook.

Broadcast/print/web journalism majors are encouraged to apply for the Martino Journalism Scholarship once it opens up during the 2024-25 academic year. Memorials can be made to the Martino Journalism Scholarship at or by check payable to UW-Whitewater Foundation.


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Chase Keller
Chase Keller, Assistant Women's Sports Editor

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