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With the Watergate scandal closing in on the presidency of Richard Nixon in May of 1973, Washington was buzzing that Nixon would come clean about his role in the cover-up. But Time magazine's Hays Gorey already knew the forthcoming statement was full of lies, having been privately briefed by Nixon's White House counsel John Dean.

Gorey, who died Tuesday in Salt Lake City at the age of 89, would later write a book about Watergate with Dean's wife, Maureen, one of five books he wrote or co-wrote covering politics on the national stage.

The former city and news editor of The Salt Lake Tribune, was in the middle of some of the biggest stories of the latter half of the 20th century after he left the newspaper in 1965 to become Time's Washington correspondent.

He was one of the reporters who got inside the Watergate scandal early on, but unlike other prominent journalists involved in Watergate, his knowledge and coverage didn't affect his ego, said Salt Lake City attorney and former Democratic State Chairman Pat Shea.

"[Gorey's] professional skills and intuitive sense made him a key player in Washington," said Shea. "But his Utah roots kept him grounded."

"He was a journalist's journalist," said former Tribune publisher Jack Gallivan. "When he first started at The Salt Lake Tribune, his professionalism quickly endeared him to everybody on the staff. I did everything I could to dissuade him from leaving us to work for Time, but Washington was too attractive. I consider Hays one of the most distinguished sons of The Salt Lake Tribune."

Gorey began his career as an office boy at the newspaper when he was 17. He used the 35-cent-an-hour job to attend the University of Utah, where he served as editor of the Daily Chronicle, named at the time as one of the best student newspapers in the country.

He quickly worked through the ranks at The Tribune and became city editor in 1945, at the age of 24. It was reported that he was the youngest city editor for a major daily in the country. He later became news editor and, according to Gallivan, "he likely would have succeeded me as publisher if he had stayed at the paper."

Gorey had been a Time correspondent during his time at The Tribune and turned down several offers from the newsmagazine to be a full-time correspondent in various bureaus around the country. But the temptation to take the Washington, D.C., job was too great, Gallivan said.

"He was my boss at The Tribune," said Tom Korologos, a prominent Washington, D.C., lobbyist and former U.S. ambassador to Belgium. "Later, when we both were in Washington, I was a source for him," said Korologos, who called Gorey a "journalistic giant for his time."

"He brought a sophistication to the newsroom," said Mike Korologos who, like his brother Tom, worked under Gorey at The Tribune. "While the rest of us were walking around in T-shirts and flip-flops, he was always well-dressed, with a neck-tie. He had an Ivy League feel about him."

During his career with Time, Gorey covered the presidential campaigns of 1968, 1972 and 1984. He was with the Robert Kennedy campaign in Los Angeles in 1968 when Kennedy was assassinated. Besides working as the national political correspondent, he served as bureau chief in Jerusalem and Boston and as an editor in New York.

While at The Tribune, he was awarded a Nieman Fellowship to study for a year at Harvard in 1949. He returned to The Tribune and served as news editor until he took the job at Time.

"He knew Washington as few people in Utah do," said retired University of Utah professor Bob Huefner. "He was on the ground at some of the most interesting parts of American history."

Services for Gorey will be Friday at 11 a.m. at Larkin Mortuary, 260 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City. Friends may call at 10 a.m. at the mortuary.