Ken Tingley

The Last American Editor

America’s small-town newspapers are having a tough time these days. The old, reliable business model for newspapers — based on print advertising — has died, and so has their presence in many communities. Even those who prevailed shrank their reporting staff by half or even more. Thousands of them have gone out of business during the past 15 years.  

Ken Tingley’s work at the Post-Star in Glens Falls, N.Y. fostered what small newspapers — at their best — stand for; their tight-knit connection to the community, their focus on people, and their enduring sense of place. He edited the paper expertly, leading it to win a slew of journalism awards during his tenure, including a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. His writing, both spare and evocative, is of a national caliber.

A generous selection of his columns is collected here, where they can be read, returned to, and treasured; stories from the old days, with lasting value. When Tingley wrote about a young soldier shipping off to the Persian Gulf after 9/11, the column did not rest with specific people or the report itself. It was about the exploration of something universal and timeless. Newspaper work is ephemeral by nature, but these columns are meant to last forever. 

The Last American Editor carries the meaningful tales of a world beyond the news.

Ken Tingley has been on the front lines of community journalism for over four decades. First as a sportswriter, later as a sports editor, and finally as editor of The Post-Star in Glens Falls, N.Y. Tingley’s columns were not focused only on opinion or commentary. They were about life in a small town and the challenges that the people who lived there faced. Tingley was honored eight times by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and the Associated Press Sports Editors bestowed national honors on his column five times. When Tingley took the job as Glens Falls sports editor, circulation rose exponentially, leading to an expansion of the newspaper. Unfortunately, the recent struggles of newspapers to remain financially viable means fewer journalists are doing this type of personal community coverage. The columns contained in this volume are, sadly, the end of an era. Tingley retired in July 2020, and he was not replaced as editor.

The Last American Editor by Ken Tingley is available on Amazon and SOOP Platforms.

Comments

  1. I moved to the Glens Falls area in 2006 and subscribed to the local newspaper The Post-Star. It was reading the morning paper that I became aware of Ken Tingley as the Editor of The Post-Star. In full disclosure I ended up serving on The Post–Star’s Editorial Board as its Citizen Representative in 2009 and again in 2019. I not only got to read Ken’s pieces about the community we live in, but I also witnessed firsthand his commitment to seeking the truth and his ability to hear all sides of an argument. Before articulating his take on a particular mater. His book, The Last American Editor allows the reader to not only gain a perspective on life in rural and small town America, but with Tingley’s ability to write and make you feel that you are sitting in the same room with him as he tells you what he is thinking about issues that affect all of us no matter where we live. It is amazing reading many of the stories and realizing that most are just as relevant today as when he wrote them. His unique gift for writing is obvious as you read about the issues confronting us no matter where you live. The good times and the bad, the successes and tragedies that face all communities are captured in the many editorials and commentaries he wrote over the years.

    I found reading his articles a journey you may find yourself traveling a number of times. I highly recommend The Last American Editor to you. It is a wonderful book

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