Times editorial page editor to retire
Seattle Times editorial page editor James F. Vesely, who has overseen the paper's editorial pages for the past 15 years, will retire from The Times on Friday.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seattle Times editorial page editor James F. Vesely, who has overseen the paper's editorial pages for eight years, will retire from The Times on Friday.
Vesely, 68, joined The Times in 1991 as associate editorial page editor, and was named editorial page editor in 2001. During his tenure, he also wrote a weekly column of commentary focused on the region's Eastside communities and growth-management issues.
"Jim is one of the best journalists and most decent people I have had the privilege to work with," said Frank Blethen, The Times' publisher and chief executive officer, in a news release on Tuesday.
"He elevated The Seattle Times' editorial voice and staff to be the most respected and influential in our long history," Blethen said. "He has deep passion and great pride in our independence, worked hard every day to ensure The Times' voice remains independent, and he is a passionate advocate of the people."
Blethen credited Vesely for creating The Times' "Democracy Papers," columns that focus on the free press.
"I will miss Jim's wit, professionalism and friendship, but wish him well in this next phase of his life," Blethen said.
David Boardman, the newspaper's executive editor, also was full of praise.
"Jim is an outstanding journalist and has been a marvelous colleague and friend," Boardman said. "He personifies the quality which I most value in this newspaper: integrity."
Former CityClub executive director Deborah Swets gave Vesely high marks as a frequent moderator of CityClub forums.
"We always had a really short list of people that we thought did a really good job," she said. "Jim was on that short list, for sure. He always brought a wonderful blend of substantive knowledge, humor, quick pacing and a unique perspective."
Kate Riley, associate editorial page editor for The Times, said Vesely's staff will miss him a great deal. "
"Our readers are losing his insight on issues," she said, "but his staff is losing a dear friend and mentor."
Vesely has long been highly regarded by other editorial page editors across the country, said Kay Semion of Daytona Beach, Fla., a past president of the National Conference of Editorial Writers.
Under Vesely, she said, "the editorial pages of The Seattle Times maintain their status as a must-look page for editorial writers and editors across the nation."
Vesely spent much of his earlier journalism career in the Midwest. He held several managerial positions, including managing editor, for The Detroit News in the mid-1970s and 1980s, and he was a consulting editor for the Anchorage Times in Alaska before joining The Seattle Times. He was a visiting editor at The People's Daily in Beijing, China, in 1984.
In 1975-76, he was a Journalism Fellow at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., and he has been a member of the National Conference of Editorial Writers for the past 15 years.
"I'm ready for retirement, after 40 continuous years at newspapers," Vesely said Tuesday. "I plan to do a lot of fly-fishing."
The Times has not yet named a successor for Vesely.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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