W. Mark Felt, Woodward and Bernstein’s Deep Throat, died yesterday at 95. “Without Mr. Felt,” his Times obit notes, “there might not have been a Watergate — shorthand for the revealed abuses of presidential powers in the Nixon White House, including illegal wiretapping, burglaries and money laundering. Americans might never have seen a president as a criminal conspirator, or reporters as cultural heroes, or anonymous sources like Mr. Felt as a necessary if undesired tool in the pursuit of truth.”

We’d add that, without Mr. Felt, the myriad people whom Watergate inspired to become investigative reporters might have chosen a different path. Below, via All the President’s Men, the iconic image of Felt, the face that launched a thousand journalism careers:

[h/t Editor & Publisher]

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.