A decade of service to ASNE

The retirement of Scott Bosley as executive director of ASNE leaves me with mixed emotions. His knowledge of the industry and his strong relationships with so many of our fellow leaders are irreplaceable. And yet I know he made the right decision for himself, and his retirement is well-deserved.

  Scott Bosley
  Scott Bosley with ASNE's delegation to Venezuela at the Miraflores Palace in Caracasin, May 2008.

The retirement of Scott Bosley as executive director of ASNE leaves me with mixed emotions. His knowledge of the industry and his strong relationships with so many of our fellow leaders are irreplaceable. And yet I know he made the right decision for himself, and his retirement is well-deserved.

Scott was a major reason that I became heavily involved in the organization. Like other editors, I had plenty of work with my day job. But when I became a committee chair for the first time, Scott and his staff were always there to help when it seemed I was overloaded. Over the years, his confident leadership inspired me to do more for ASNE, and helped keep me halfway sane back in Milwaukee. His ethics, values and leadership style were a constant source of reassurance; there was comfort in knowing that the tasks facing the staff would be accomplished, and the decisions needing to be made would always be in the best interests of the organization.

His presence as executive director — and the knowledge that his helping hand would be there — was critical when I was elected to the ladder. In recent years, he talked about the possibility of retiring, and we are lucky as an organization that he has stayed as long as he has. I think so highly of him that as my presidency approached, I got down on bended knee in a hotel hallway to encourage him to stay on. I won't share the look on his face.

I appreciate that he has given us plenty of notice in announcing he will step down at the end of 2009. As we honor his career of service to journalism, we will have Scott to guide us as we go through such a critical year for the organization and journalism. Leadership from ASNE is needed more than ever.

I have been told many times by my predecessors that the best thing incoming presidents have going for them is having Scott Bosley to work with. I couldn't agree more. Think about the fact that he has had 11 different bosses in 11 years. No editor and very few people could survive those changes, must less actually thrive. His success comes from caring first about the organization. For Scott it has always been about what he could do for ASNE and the values we stand for — not himself. We will surely miss him.

Here are a collection of comments from past presidents:
Charlotte Hall (2008-09) — Scott has a big heart, a smart head and the drive to get things done. He leads by serving others, quietly and selflessly. Scott is the person you'd want next to you when the plane crashed or you washed up on a deserted island. Somehow, he would get you out safely — and make the world think you did it yourself. Scott has made ASNE presidents look good — and made the world think they did it themselves! — Plus he knows everything and everybody in the business.
Gilbert Bailon ( 2007-08) — Scott has the rare gift of high competence and a modest, respectful demeanor to all people he encounters — from the ASNE members, board members, staff, industry leaders and colleagues in other non-profit organizations. The amount of goodwill he has sowed for ASNE is incalculable over the last decade. People inside the ASNE machinery came to expect his flawless organization, notice to detail and excellent planning. He's made the group and a lot of people attached to it look good for a long time. He is far too modest to take a bow. The depth of his positive impact is hard to measure. ASNE was very fortunate to have a successful, longtime newspaper executive to take the helm of running its day-to-day affairs.
David Zeeck (2006-07) — I don't think many members of ASNE have a complete understanding of how important Scott Bosley has been to the organization over his term as executive director.
There is some continuity provided by a leadership ladder in which officers advance one rung each year, but the real continuity within the organization has been Scott. Behind the scenes he has quietly led the organization to promote more openness in government, greater legal protections for reporters, the creation of a solid ASNE endowment, and the establishment of a more efficient, professional and editor-centered ASNE. We have made real progress in each of these areas during Scott's time with ASNE, and much of the credit should go to him.
Rick Rodriguez (2005-06) — It takes a unique individual to deal with a multitude of editors and Scott did it superbly with grace, humor, discipline and dedication. I never worried if things would get done because Scott was there. He will be very sorely missed and I wish him nothing but the best.
Peter Bhatia (2003-04) — I remember vividly the San Francisco convention in 1999 when Scott was first coming on board and Lee was transitioning to retirement. No, not because of Sharon Stone's speech, though that won't be forgotten. But from the moment Scott was part of ASNE he brought smart, thoughtful leadership; a deep understanding of our industry earned by his decades as one of us, and an unflappable demeanor that managed a chuckle in the most messed-up or difficult of times. He has been a superb leader for ASNE who has worked well with more than a decade of different presidential personalities. He has been a role model and a mentor to us all. He's made the world of editors better and has broadened ASNE's reach through partnerships and programs that have made a profound difference. ASNE and journalism have been so fortunate to have him.
Diane McFarlinDiane McFarlin (2002-03) — Scott Bosley is a wise head with a steady hand. As executive director of ASNE, his equanimity and calm have been unwavering in the face of challenges ranging from demanding Secret Service protocol and flooded convention ballrooms, to historic changes in our industry. Even Fidel Castro couldn't rattle him. I felt immensely fortunate that Scott was running the show during my year as president of ASNE. I always knew that he would make the right decision for the right reasons. This organization and our industry owe him a huge debt of gratitude.
Tim McGuire (2001-02) — I have had a lot of proud moments in my career, but one of the proudest is being in the room when we decided to hire Scott Bosley for ASNE. Scott has been the perfect combination of take-charge leader and deferential implementer required for the ASNE executive director position. Scott was perfect for the job, perfect for ASNE and a perfect confidante for an ASNE president. Most of all, he was a great friend. And as he said the other day, McGuire and Bosley do great flood!!!
Edward Seaton (1998-99) — Scott's high water mark as executive director undoubtedly was at the 2002 Foundation board meeting. As I recall, Tim McGuire burst into the JW Marriott conference room and, in his best ministerial voice, declared: “Holy Shit!” The pipes had broken and the hotel was flooding. Scott simply chuckled and we finished the meeting. He then went on to manage the convention, including the move to another Marriott, as if it the flood had been in the plan all along.
Gregory Favre (1994-95) — Scott's retirement leaves me with a mixture of feelings, one of happiness for him and one of sadness for ASNE. His decade running the Society has been a portrait of excellence, years of leadership filled with class and grace and devotion to a shared cause of preserving the best of what we do as journalists. For that we owe him our deepest appreciation. Scott can leave knowing that he did everything he could to make it an organization we can look to with pride. It has been a real pleasure to be one of his many partners.