Jonathan Wolman, the Detroit news editor, dies at 68 years of age

Detroit News Editor and Publisher Jonathan Wolman attend a meeting of Detroit Economic Club in Detroit on Wednesday, 11 December, 2013. (Photo: Paul Sancya, Associated Press)

Jonathan Wolman, who was editor and publisher of the Detroit News over 45 years, and worked as a reporter, chief executive and executive editor of The Associated Press, served Monday's death in Detroit. It was 68 years of age.

His family told the News that Wolman died from pancreatic cancer.

Wolman has been editor and publisher of News since 2007, running the newspaper during a financially challenging period, including team leagues, cutting back to two days a week of home delivery, and relocation from a huge headquarters building in which he lived almost a century.

However, Detroit – even as it interrupted bankruptcy and then in 2013-14 – has survived as one of the declining US cities, with more than one major daily newspaper. The News has an operating agreement with its colleague, the Detroit Free Press, where the newspapers consolidate business operations and present a separate editorial team.

"Jon came to Detroit at an incredible time of uncertainty, not only for News, but for the industry," said management editor, Gary Miles. "It was a calming and calming influence that prioritized the big picture: the accuracy and fairness of our news report."

Miles recalled Wolman's "careful analysis" as the management of the paper addressed budget reductions and staff reductions. Even among the intensity, Miles said, Wolman oversaw the expansion of the paper's investigation unit and project, and kept a strong focus on national and world news at a time when many regional papers were cutting back.

"He was extremely kind," said Miles. "Clearly some decisions have been made. But he kept the long-term interests of the News, his staff and his readers extremely important."

Peter Bhatia, the Free Press editor, suggested Wolman as "a brilliant and excellent journalist."

"He has kept his newspaper relevant and engaged with the public and has been an intense and appropriate advocate for the News in his partnership with the Free Press," said Bhatia.

Wolman's tenure in Detroit included one of the most turbulent periods in the city's history. Before the bankruptcy was filed after years the population and tax base had been falling; recently there is an incomplete but exciting recovery.

Wolman came to Detroit from Denver, where he was editor of the Denver Post editorial page for three years.

Before joining Denver, career was at almost 31 years with Wolman, starting in 1973 as a reporter in Madison, Wisconsin.


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