The Journal’s Editor, James C. Smith, Jr., Just Died

The Journal's Editor, James C. Smith, Jr., Just Died

Letters to the Editor: You pray to God about climate change. That’s no excuse for inaction.


May 14, 2018 at 12:01 AMMay 14, 2018 at 1:00 AM

I am an avid reader of the newspaper, the Providence Journal. Not only do you offer great, reliable journalism, you have some of the most interesting people I have ever come across on our campus. I want to offer my best wishes to the staff this year. The Journal is a good newspaper. It has produced many important stories in past years, including two Pulitzer Prizes. My friend, James C. Smith, Jr., one of the most admired and respected journalists in the world, just died. Smith was so close to Providence College.

I was proud to work with James in his short tenure as the Journal’s editor. But I will never forget the time that he asked me to join his staff after reading an article about a child who was abducted from his school and sent to a concentration camp at age 10. He told me that he believed that something like that could happen to any of our children. He said he would not believe my story if he hadn’t seen my son’s face when he read about his abduction.

Then, when a former student who is now a member of the State Legislature asked me to join the editorial board, I decided that this was an opportunity too good to pass up. He asked for my professional opinion and I said: “I would do it.”

But when he asked me to tell him about my family, I told him about the death of my son (he was 11), my wife’s cancer, my job as a nurse and the end of my marriage. Then he asked why I was not writing stories about the homeless on campus and why I wasn’t writing stories about drug use, alcohol and crime in Providence. He was looking for what we were all writing about, but he found the same subjects in every paper.

This was a brave thing for me to do because I have a great respect for the paper’s mission. The Journal, like I said, produces some of the most important stories about Providence College.

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