Richard C. Holbrooke, who died yesterday at 69, didn't start out wanting to be a diplomat. He wanted to be a journalist. "But," the New York Times obituary notes, "after graduating in 1962 he was turned down by the Times and joined the State Department as a foreign service officer."

His work in government led him to become the author of one volume of the Pentagon Papers. Which was how he first got published in the Times.