Wednesday, June 17, 2009

After 40 years, IJ columnist Beth Ashley retires

"It is incredibly painful now to see our newsroom downsized, newspapers everywhere struggling to survive," longtime Marin IJ columnist Beth Ashley (pictured) said in her farewell to readers. "And while the IJ is still making a profit, it hurts to think what my colleagues may have to face someday: the loss of their jobs. Reporters have mouths to feed, too. They may get new jobs, but it won't be the same."

Ashley retired on June 11 at the age of 83 after more than 40 years in the IJ newsroom.

"When she was asked to be a local columnist 26 years ago, she wrote wryly about her mandate to find the 'real Marin scene,' expressing doubt about her worthiness to do so," Executive Editor Doug Bunnell said in an introduction to a special section celebrating Ashley's career. "She then proceeded to pose a series of questions that demonstrated why she was the perfect choice.

"This business we call journalism ultimately is about people. Beth knows that better than most. Each person she interviewed came away convinced that she was completely interested in what they had to say — their story. And she was," Bunnell wrote.

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