Fleming died Saturday at his home in Los Angeles of a number of respiratory-related ailments, his son, Charles Fleming, said.
Fleming's career in journalism began shortly after World War II, when he worked at a variety of small North Carolina newspapers, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday. He was named the chief of Newsweek's Atlanta bureau in 1961.
He is best known, the Times said, for his reporting of racial clashes throughout the South during the civil rights movement.
Fleming was nearly shot in 1962 while covering riots following the University of Mississippi's admission of its first African-American student, James Meredith.
When Fleming was assigned to Newsweek's Los Angeles bureau, he was severely beaten by a mob while covering a meeting of members of the Black Power movement. A photograph of Fleming lying in his own blood, jaw broken and skull fractured appeared in newspapers across the country the next day.
Fleming is survived by his wife Anne Taylor, son Charles -- an editor at the Times -- David, Russell and Mark, and eight grandchildren, the Times reported.