James Hill: Managing Editor of the Washington Post Writers Group

From a Washington Post obit by Bart Barnes headlined “James Hill, Post Writers Group editor, dies at 75”:

James S. Hill, a journalist who became managing editor of The Washington Post’s Writers Group of opinion journalists and columnists, editorial cartoonists and comic strip authors, died at his home in Sun City, Ariz.

Mr. Hill was managing editor of the Writers Group for 14 years until retiring in 2014. Among the writers he helped syndicate were Eugene Robinson, E.J. Dionne Jr., George Will and, until his death in 2018, Charles Krauthammer.

As an editor, Dionne wrote, Mr. Hill was a stickler for “using the right word, conveying thoughts clearly — but always saw the fun in it. … He was shrewd and realistic about how the world works, but never fell into a deadening cynicism.”

James Sherman Hill was born in Winfield, Kan. He was an infant when his father died, and he was raised by his mother, a nurse.

He attended Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., and the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where he took his first newspaper job at the Herald-Leader.

He later held reporting and editing positions at newspapers including the Kansas City Star, the Oakland Tribune, the Los Angeles Times (from 1979 to 1990), the Phoenix Gazette and the Arizona Republic. In Washington, he taught a graduate course on journalism at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.

In a column published after Mr. Hill’s death, Ruben Navarrette Jr., a Latino columnist syndicated with the Writers Group, described him as a “protective father figure. He called me ‘son’ and made my well-being his concern. He gave me advice when I needed it, and scoldings when I deserved.”

Without Mr. Hill, Navarrette added, “it’s doubtful that I would have had a writing career at all.”

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