Haile and Farewell  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  The Beat
From AJR,   October 2000

Haile and Farewell   

The Orlando Sentinel's editor steps down.

By Lori Robertson
Lori Robertson (robertson.lori@gmail.com), a former AJR managing editor, is a senior contributing writer for the magazine.      



Three months after the Orlando Sentinel named a new publisher, it hunts for a new editor.
John Haile , editor and vice president of the Sentinel for 15 years, announces he'll retire at the ripe young age of 55. The search for the right successor may take some time, says President and Publisher Kathleen M. Waltz , who moved from the publisher job at the Daily Press in Newport News, Virginia, to replace now- Los Angeles Times Publisher John Puerner .
Haile says he and his wife, Gwen , had planned that he would step down once he hit the 15-year mark. "My situation with the Sentinel has been absolutely fantastic," he says, adding that he was able to "do things that other editors could only dream of." Tribune Co., the Sentinel's owner, enabled him "to be an entrepreneur in a huge corporate structure."
The editor certainly did build a business, largely in multimedia projects. Haile was responsible for the launch in 1997 of Central Florida News 13 , a 24-hour cable TV news channel, in partnership with Time Warner Communications. Under his leadership, the paper also developed a Web site, OrlandoSentinel.com , an online travel service and Black Voices , an online community for African Americans. And don't forget radio: The paper has a news partnership with Clear Channel Communications.
"To me, it seemed obvious that there was going to be an evolution that combined print and interactive and video," Haile says. "It seemed better for the newspaper to be the one that led the revolution."
Haile joined the Sentinel in 1979 after 13 years with Nashville's Tennessean" . From 1981 to 1985, he was associate editor and chairman of the editorial board. The Sentinel won three Pulitzer Prizes under Haile's subsequent editorship. "I'm sad he's retiring," says Managing Editor Jane Healy , a 27-year Sentinel veteran. "I think he's the best editor the Sentinel ever had.... He brings out the best in the people who work for him."
Haile hardly plans to stop working entirely. He'll assist Tribune with multimedia projects, he says, and he has set up a consulting company, Inside Out Media Partners, which will consist of himself and possibly two or three others. The consulting he'll do for media organizations, he says, will take up about half of his time. Gwen Haile hopes that's true. She's concerned, John Haile says, that his new projects, like everything else he does, "will consume me." But, he adds, "I'm committed not to let that happen."

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