Bill Kirtz, an accomplished newspaper editor and longtime professor in the Northeastern School of Journalism, retired after the fall 2015 semester after 42 years with the department.
Kirtz graduated cum laude from Trinity College in Hartford, CT in 1961, and he earned his Master’s degree from the Columbia School of Journalism the following year. He then worked as an editor of The Patriot Ledger before serving as publisher and editor of his own weekly newspaper, the Marblehead Messenger.
During his time at the Ledger, Kirtz was particularly impressed by a 19-year-old Northeastern student who was a co-op reporter at the newspaper. This sparked his interest in the Northeastern School of Journalism, and he was eventually hired as an associate professor.
After teaching print journalism at Northeastern for over four decades, Kirtz said he is still struck by the work ethic of the students, despite Northeastern’s more competitive acceptance rate and the overall cost of tuition.
“We seem to have upped the standards but kept the grit,” said Kirtz.
Kirtz also expressed his appreciation for his fellow faculty members — from department veterans like Jim Ross and Chuck Fountain, to recent hires in new media like Jeff Howe and Dina Kraft. What the Northeastern J-School has, said Kirtz, is a team of professors who can talk about journalism as well as do it.
When reflecting on his time as a journalist, Kirtz said he is lucky to have been passionate about his work and successful in his career. Although the economics are tougher and the job market is evolving, Kirtz believes that the importance of journalism is the same, and he is optimistic for the future of Northeastern journalism students.
“How cool is journalism? You get to meet interesting people, learn interesting things, and write about it,” said Kirtz. “If only we got paid, right?”