Jerry Seib Retiring After 45 Years at the Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal editor Matt Murray sent this memo out on Monday:

After one of the most storied journalistic runs of the modern (or any) era, our own Jerry Seib has decided to retire from The Wall Street Journal.

Jerry may be a Washington Nationals fan, but he has been the Journal’s Cal Ripken Jr., and it is hard to imagine the place without his regular byline. He joined the Journal 45 years ago as a summer intern in Dallas, and during his career here, he has put in 29 years as a weekly columnist, 12 as Washington bureau chief (over two stints), six as executive Washington editor and three as a Middle East correspondent (where, in 1987, he was kidnapped and held in an Iranian prison for four days).

Jerry has interviewed seven presidents, moderated three presidential debates, covered 18 national political conventions, written nearly 1,500 columns, authored two books and represented the Journal thousands of times on television and at events. Since he joined, the Journal has had seven editors, the Dow has gone from under 1,000 to nearly 36,000 and the U.S. population has grown by 50 percent. Jerry has written about and helped guide coverage for many of the most significant national stories of our times, from the Gulf War to the Iraq War, from presidential impeachments to the 2000 election standoff, from the rise of the digital economy to the fall of the Soviet Union and the emergence of China.

Among his honors are the Merriman Smith Award for coverage of the presidency, the Aldo Beckman Award for coverage of the White House, the Gerald R. Ford Foundation Prize and a Gerald Loeb Lifetime Achievement Award. On 9/11, when the attack on the World Trade Center forced the evacuation of our New York newsroom, he played a central role in directing coverage from Washington and getting the paper out in difficult circumstances, and he owns a large share of the Pulitzer Prize awarded to the Journal for Breaking News that year.

Most importantly, generations of readers have come to rely on Jerry’s byline for deep reporting and consistently informed and thoughtful judgment and probity; in tumultuous times, he often has served as a barometer for navigating the landscape. His work ethic and dedication to the Journal is extraordinary. Beyond his talent and drive, thousands of colleagues have known Jerry as a sherpa, counselor and one of the kindest and most generous people to ever walk through our doors. Over many decades in Washington, he has avoided becoming a captured creature of the capitol and stayed true to the roots and values of his beloved Kansas.

While Jerry and his wife, Barb, who is herself a former Journal reporter, will be pursuing new adventures after his official May 13 retirement date–including spending more time with their adorable granddaughter—he will continue to work with Aaron Zitner on building out our new polling regime, and plans to write occasionally for Review. We also will have opportunities in the weeks ahead to thank and celebrate him. For now, I know all of you join me in hailing Jerry Seib and in expressing admiration of his accomplishments, gratitude for the example he has set and our deepest affection and respect.

-Matt Murray

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