Preorder: The Last American Editor by Kenneth Tingley

(23 customer reviews)

$18.95

Description

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.

About the Author

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.

23 reviews for Preorder: The Last American Editor by Kenneth Tingley

  1. Wade Fransson

    An Amazing collection!

  2. Connie Bosse

    Ken Tingley’s collection of essays is a wonderful way to read the history of people and issues in our area. He shows insight, humor and wisdom in his take on the world around us. A fun read!

  3. Mark Mahoney

    As head of The Post-Star’s editorial department for over three decades, Ken Tingley was known as a leader, both in his newsroom and in his industry. But more than any of that, Ken was a member of the community he served. A parent. A taxpayer. A fellow citizen. His stories were their stories. And through every column he wrote, he gave them their voice. Whether it was expressing his concerns about underage drinking, demanding more transparency from a government board, lamenting the closure of a longtime business or joining his fellow citizens in celebration one day and mourning the next, Ken Tingley was their conscience, their advocate, their friend. In reading Ken’s columns, even many years after they were written, one gets a snapshot of a community and its people. That’s because Ken Tingley was one of them. He belonged to them. And through each of his columns, it’s very clear that they belonged to him.

  4. Tim Reynolds

    Ken Tingley’s biggest gift as a writer is that he doesn’t tell the reader his version of a person’s story. He tells that person’s ACTUAL story. He finds that certain something that makes his story subjects unique, and paints the picture of what they’re feeling, what they’re thinking, who they are. He writes about their joys and their pains, finding the strength in each. He makes us feel like we truly know his story subjects. And if we look hard enough, we usually find a lesson that we can apply to our own lives.
    Tim Reynolds, Associated Press.

  5. Bill Eichenberger

    “These columns take readers inside the lives of their friends and neighbors with uncommon insight and provide a fascinating window into life in small-town America. Every town needs a Ken Tingley, who as a sports writer and editor clearly learned that the best stories are not about who won and lost, but about real life. Glens Falls is lucky to have him.”
    Bill Eichenberger, executive director of Associated Press Sports Editors.

  6. Terry Pluto

    “Ken Tingley not only writes from the heart, but he writes about the hearts of others. He tells great stories for those who live in his unique part of the world. Buy his book. Put it on the table next to your bed. When you’ve had a hard day, open it up: You can turn almost to any page and feel your heart restored.”
    – Terry Pluto, author and columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

  7. Tamara Dietrich

    “I’ve known and admired Ken’s writing for years — his way with words, his ability to draw a reader in and take them on a narrative journey. He goes beyond human interest to highlight the deep humanity of the people he profiles. That’s powerful stuff, and a true gift.”
    – Tamara Dietrich, journalist and author of “The Hummingbird’s Cage.”

  8. David Stoeffler

    “It is exceedingly rare for an editor to serve more than 20 years at the helm of a community newspaper, and even more rare when that person is a talented writer like Ken Tingley. His columns come straight from the heart, rooted in his familiarity with the issues, places and especially the people who make Glens Falls unique. This collection presents a compelling picture of what Ken calls the `characters in a long-running drama that is our community story.’ While his subjects are quintessentially local, Ken’s authentic and insightful style will resonate with readers everywhere.”

    David Stoeffler, former Post-Star publisher and vice president for news of Lee Enterprises.

  9. Charlotte Hall

    “Ken Tingley’s columns overflow with humanity and community, from the outpouring of help to a young woman stricken with MS to the redemption of a crack addict whose awakening leads to the revival of an aging church. These are real people, your neighbors, portrayed by Tingley with unflinching realism and deep affection.  You will find here pain, sorrow and regret, but you will also find courage, hope, generosity, and most of all love.”
    Charlotte Hall, retired editor and senior vice president, Orlando Sentinel.

  10. Darrin Youker

    The Post-Star was a newspaper that punched above its weight class. Regardless of circulation numbers, the paper aimed high, wanting not only to be the best in its class, but better than any other in New York. We were a feisty paper that was never afraid to tackle big stories, lengthy investigations or impactful series that took months to develop. Ken Tingley asked us as reporters and photographers to be aggressive and dream big. He approached his personal columns with that same style, believing that our newspaper had a duty to seek for the truth, challenge those in authority and ask the questions that our readers were asking. I hope readers appreciate Ken’s approach as much as I do.

  11. Stu Shinske

    “As a deeply respected editor, writer and columnist, Ken Tingley championed storytelling that illuminated slices of life, exceptional experiences and the triumphs and opportunities of folks navigating a complex world. His new book collates these into a compelling reflection that’s introspective, insightful and intelligent. In these pages, we see others, but we also see ourselves.”

  12. Michael Lewis

    “Ken Tingley is one of the best newspaper journalists I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. For decades he’s had his finger on the pulse of small-town America, and his writing conveys depth, warmth and common sense that many columnists fake but don’t truly possess. “The Last American Editor is a terrific book filled by a writer who gets it.”

  13. Meg Hagerty

    For years, readers of The Post-Star enjoyed Editor Ken Tingley’s inimitable story telling over their morning cereal. Times may have changed in the way we all receive the news but Ken’s captivating writing style never has; he consistently manages to blend authenticity with a passion for his subjects. An added bonus to this collection of columns is learning how each person’s story ended. Strap in for the ride!

  14. Mark R. Turner

    Ken Tingley’s new book is more than just a mere collection of columns from his days as a print journalist. This is a collection of life stories.

    Ken not only writes from the heart, he writes to the heart. While most column writers dwell on their opinions of various current events, Ken delves into the very essence of the people and places in the Upstate New York town of Glen Falls. Even if you’ve never been there, by the time you have read Ken’s collection of essays you will know as much about Glen Falls as you do about your home town.

  15. Gary Kebbel

    In 1944, when Look Magazine named Glens Falls, N.Y., “Hometown, U.S.A.,” the secret was out. Quality of life, strong community ties and civic responsibility were celebrated by Look as the nation’s example of “a typical U.S. Hometown … as it is today in war, as it will be in the peace to come.” The editors said this was “a story of transition which may well set a pattern for other communities.”

    For the past three decades, that pattern of typical community life, the best and worst of it, were chronicled by then Glens Falls Post-Star Editor Ken Tingley. Now those columns are a book, “The Last American Editor.” Pick any column and you’ll understand what we miss if local newspapers wither and die. Sometimes newspapers are the soul that help define a place, create its identity and preserve it. Sometimes they celebrate its people. Sometimes they are scolds; sometimes they nurture. The best of this comes when an editor writes not about the events of the day, but what those events teach us about ourselves, and how they are examples to follow or avoid.

    In writing about the people of Glens Falls and the Adirondack region, Tingley writes about hope and what’s best in us. Although his lessons are couched in moving, well-written stories about alcoholism or multiple sclerosis or organ donation or a Naval reservist shipping out for active duty in the Middle East, they much more broadly inspire us. They teach universal lessons about strengths and weaknesses of people who could be us. They exalt humanity, love and caring. They inspire others to help. They honor people and their community. They push us to see how much better life is when the joy of living it right shines for others to see. Quite simply, they show us the benefits of community.

    Journalism like this is disappearing from communities as local newspapers downsize. Tingley shows that newspapers at their best help their communities know about and rejoice in their uniqueness of people, place and time. His columns should make us wonder what happens to communities that lose the glue that helped hold them together. Tingley shows how important it is for community cohesion to have newspapers that tell us about hope and humanity, not just crime and craziness. He shows the unifying power newspapers have when they act as citizens of their communities, not just chroniclers.

    Tingley’s columns show that Glens Falls and its newspaper have continued Look’s prediction of “a story of transition which may well set a pattern for other communities.”
    Gary Kebbel, Past managing editor of The Post-Star and journalism professor emeritus at University of Nebraska-Lincoln

  16. Mike DeMasi

    Ken’s writing brings the reader into the story, as if you were in the room with him when he was asking questions, taking notes and absorbing the details of what he was hearing and seeing. His point of view is clear and he’s not afraid to share it. Even if you don’t agree with all his positions, you have to respect the forcefulness of his arguments.

  17. Pete Dougherty

    Here’s a little secret to share: Among journalists, sports writers may be the best storytellers. Another secret: Before his 21-year run as editor of the Glens Falls Post-Star, Ken Tingley was a sports writer, or, more precisely, a sports editor. Whether it was his background in sports or just an innate ability to understand people, Ken draws in readers with a compassionate voice and a unique narrative that made every column a must-read.

  18. Ken Paulson

    “You’ll find the spirit of America in Ken Tingley’s columns. He has the compassionate voice of a man determined to tell stories that might otherwise have gone untold about people who might otherwise have gone uncelebrated.”
    Ken Paulson, J.D., Director, Free Speech Center, Middle Tennessee State University and former editor-in-chief of USA Today.

  19. Eric Mondschein

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    The Last American Editor by Kenneth Tingley

    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.

    Eric Mondschein, author and former Citizen Representative on The Post-Star’s Editorial Board

  20. Diana Vidal

    Awesome

  21. Barbara Lombardo

    For many years Ken and I were running small-town newsrooms in adjacent upstate New York counties, he based in Glens Falls and me in Saratoga Springs. I know firsthand his lifelong commitment to quality journalism lauded by both readers and peers, and know the feeling behind his aptly titled book, as local journalism is truly in peril. I also know what you’ll quickly discover: Ken recognizes that ordinary-seeming people have compelling stories to tell and, man, this guy can write. And ever the diligent journalist, Ken’s columns in this collection include brief follow-ups to let us know whatever happened to these people whom he invariably makes us care about.

  22. Konrad Marshall

    “When I started working for Ken Tingley at The Post Star, I knew he had already been a sports editor. And somewhere along the way – in my five years at that daily paper in Glens Falls, NY – I remember him conveying a lesson learned in his working life. He said that in most newsrooms, sports writers made the best writers. Having started as a village beat writer myself, I chafed at that idea at first, until Ken explained why. He said sports writers are keenly attuned to wins and losses, to struggles and triumphs, to sacrifice and skill and all things dramatic. His point was that if you want to get to the bottom of any tale, and sell that narrative as a storyteller should, then sport was the ideal training ground. And so it proved. After a lengthy career writing about football stars and track athletes, Ken turned his editing gaze to local politics, and commerce, and health and law. For years and years, he encouraged his writers to tell stories about the ordinary people that formed his community, and the issues that affected them. As I see it, that’s what this compendium of columns is about: Everyday life in small town America, through the losses and wins that tear us down and lift us up.”
    – Konrad Marshall, senior writer, Good Weekend magazine (Australia)

  23. Brett Orzechowski

    “For those American communities that have perhaps lost their way over the last decade, Ken’s columns are a reminder that there’s one that remains resolute in preserving the fabric of what makes it special — and that’s its people. A media organization is responsible for documenting this and bringing it to life is often an arduous task that requires trust and unflinching honesty. For decades, that’s what communities in The Post-Star’s circulation area received through Ken’s lens. From fandom to flaws, triumph to tragedy, capturing those vulnerable moments are what journalists are conditioned to do in a style and approach that goes beyond the difficult reportage needed to uncover the facts. Column writing is reflective and requires a delicate balance of understanding the context of the situation while also remaining respectful of space and a subject’s personal life. A community is a reflection of its people, and the real and raw that emanates from Ken’s collection brings to life one of the most honest and true corners of New York State and perhaps this country. At a time when the public can create its own narrative via various platforms, sometimes an outside voice is needed to bring us back to reality and put in perspective what matters most, and that’s our friends, family and community, and in good times and bad. You’ve always found that in The Post-Star’s circulation area — and you’ll find that in Ken’s collection.”

    – Brett Orzechowski
    Proud Post-Star Alumni
    Author, FOIL: The Law and the Future of Public Information in New York
    Associate Professor, Management and Data Analytics, Utica College

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