Blake Hounshell On Politics Editor At The Times Dies At 44: Blake Hounshell, a well-known journalist who oversaw the “On Politics” weekly for The New York Times and previously held many executive posts at Politico, passed away on Tuesday in Washington. He was 44.
Hounshell “was a dedicated journalist who swiftly established himself as our primary politics newsletter writer and a gifted observer of our country’s political situation,” the Times executive editor Joe Kahn and managing editor Carolyn Ryan wrote in a memo to staff.
After working at Politico for eight years, he joined the Times in October 2021.
During a busy election season, “he became an invaluable and always informative voice in the report,” said Kahn and Ryan. “Blake was devoted to his family and a friend to many on our political and government teams in Washington who worked with him for many years,” the statement continued.
We just lost a valuable colleague, which is a devastating loss for our team, they continued.
According to a Times obituary, Washington police were investigating whether the death was a suicide. According to a statement from Hounshell’s family that was cited in the email to Times staff, he passed away “after a long and valiant fight with depression.”
Hounshell, a Pittsburgh native, and Yale University alum, started his media career after going to Cairo to study Arabic. To cover the Arab upheavals, he returned to Cairo in February 2011 after joining Foreign Policy magazine in 2006.
Before joining Politico in 2013, he served as the managing editor of Foreign Policy. He had many positions there, including managing editor for Washington and politics, editorial director of POLITICO.com, and editor-in-chief of Politico Magazine.
“Southern Tiger: Chile’s Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future,” the memoirs of former Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, were edited by Hounshell and Elizabeth Dickinson and released in 2012.
Politicians, political operatives, and others he worked with and mentored and his fellow journalists expressed shock and sadness in response to his passing.
“The @politico newsroom is in anguish. Blake Hounshell had a dazzling mind, full of original insights about a vast array of subjects,” John F. Harris, a founding editor of Politico, wrote on Twitter. “He was a deeply idealistic and curious man with an exhilarating ability to perceive both patterns and contradictions in the news.”
Sen. John Fetterman, a newly elected Democrat from Pennsylvania, remembers speaking with Hounshell after having a stroke in May that prevented him from campaigning for many weeks.
“Blake Hounshell was a fellow stroke survivor, and one of the first interviews I did when I returned to the campaign trail and struggled to find my words,” Fetterman tweeted Tuesday. “He showed compassion and humanity in a way few others had.”
Hounshell worked with Anna Palmer at Politico, and she described him as “as smart of an editor as I have ever worked with.” Palmer is also the founder and co-CEO of Punchbowl News.
“He was generous, extremely funny & loyal,” Palmer tweeted. “I’m so sorry to hear of his passing.”
Hounshell was described as “always a clever, curious, and very kind guy” in a tweet by MSNBC host Chris Hayes. Simply terrible news Conservative broadcaster and political analyst Scott Jennings claimed to have recently spoken with Hounshell on a report regarding the Kentucky governor’s race.
Was perhaps a mistake to feed my vegetable garden with anabolic steroids pic.twitter.com/dXRtlrhhgh
— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) June 23, 2022
According to Jennings, I always thought he was a decent guy and a talented reporter. A warning that you never really know what individuals are going through on the inside.
Hounshell could “see all these tweets of his colleagues who feel beholden to him for where they are,” Times legislative writer Annie Karni wrote in a tweet.
Hounshell leaves behind his wife, Sandy, and their two kids.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
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