Remembering Stan Strick, Community Reporting Pioneer

Stan Strick, former executive editor at The Daily Herald in Everett, Wash., and a strong supporter of innovative journalism focused on community reaction to trauma and violence, died June 4 from complications related to cancer treatment.

Strick, 68, spent 27 years at The Herald, the last 15 as the newspaper's top editor. He retired in November 2007.

He challenged his newsroom to experiment with fresh approaches to covering crime and violence as well as the other tragedies that routinely demand attention from The Herald and other community newspapers. Strick insisted reporters and photographers not only consider the effect of their work on victims and their families, but also on the broader community.

Among other things, Strick encouraged forming a panel of community advisers who were experts on grief and criminal justice to help direct coverage of a particularly ugly trial involving a man accused of raping and murdering a young girl. He also urged reporters to take narrative approaches to telling trauma stories, and to make sure crime coverage placed as much emphasis on rebuilding lives as on arrests and crime scene tape.

Strick found in the Dart Center strong allies for the brand of journalism he demanded. It was work that attracted attention. Under Strick's direction, Time magazine in 1997 named The Herald one of the "best papers you've never heard of" for what it described as "creative, community-minded local reporting."

At a June 8 memorial service in the newsroom, Chuck Lyons of the Washington Post Co., which owns The Herald, honored Strick and his generation of journalists:

"[They] loved news like good lawyers love the law and Michael Jordan loved the game. Nothing in life was better than a breaking story on deadline, bringing down a crooked politician, or a scoop. It was never about the money. It was always about the press, or, as we say in today’s vernacular, the journalism."

On The Herald's website, you can read an obituary written by Strick's reporters.