Long-time Kent newspaper editor, veteran journalist Jack Mayne, has died

By Scott Schaefer & Sue Favor

It is with a very heavy heart, and with tears in our eyes, that we report that South King Media’s longtime senior writer / co-publisher and veteran journalist Jack Mayne has passed away.

Mayne died peacefully at home, just days before his 85th birthday.

For the longtime Seattle area resident and lifelong editor and journalist, researching, writing, and editing news wasn’t just a profession – it was his life’s work.

Mayne (we call him by his last name, as he insists on AP Style) grew up in San Francisco and after a short time in the British Royal Navy graduated from San Francisco State University.

He began his journalism in the province of Vancouver, afterwards he worked for the Associated Press as its office manager in New England. Mayne was city editor for the Arizona Republic and Seattle Post-Intelligencer, then editor for Valley Daily News in Kent, then for Journal American in Bellevue. He was also a prolific freelance international journalist reporting from South Africa, China and over 80 other countries and even covering the 1982 colonial war over the lonely Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. Mayne also worked for the West Seattle Herald and wrote for South King Media from 2012 until his death (his last story was about the SeaTac City Council on November 14, 2021).

Mayne ran several newsrooms that consisted of hundreds of reporters and was often the best-dressed man in the background room and, of course, clouds of smoke in the air.

He also often delighted colleagues and friends with stories of his extensive journalistic experience, including one when he was at the Seattle PI when he said he was shot by a police officer in an alley in downtown Seattle. He had investigated a police fraud and luckily the bullet had missed him.

As print writing became stale and out of date, Mayne turned his attention to online journalism and moved to South King Media, where he wrote hundreds of stories for our network of seven local websites for over 9 years. We are proud and honored to say that he worked for us until his last days.

He was an avid news squire who believed his goal was to tell people stories.

“There is still real news coverage and I’ve found that I still love writing about things that matter,” Mayne wrote on his Twitter profile.

An elegant chest of drawers, Mayne embodied class. Although he was known in the newsroom as a die-hard, no-nonsense editor, he had a soft spot for young people. He often took young reporters under his wing, made them better writers, and helped them get started in news coverage.

Mayne loved and befriended people of all ages, genders, races, races, and cultures. He loved talking to strangers and then telling his best friends about the interesting stories he’d heard. Known for his warmth and sense of humor, Mayne has made friends everywhere, and has been a staple at West 5 in West Seattle for the past decade.

In person, Editor Scott Schaefer spoke to Mayne almost every weekday, discussing story ideas, timetables for council meetings, and receiving advice on journalistic workflows, ethics, and more.

“In addition to being a great reporter, Jack was a trusted, experienced journalism mentor,” said Schaefer. “He often told me that without the work we’d given him in his later years, he’d have nothing to do – he didn’t want to just retire. He also advised me that “if both sides of a story hate you, you are doing something right,” which has often been true, especially in controversial local elections. I’ll post his photo above my desk next to one of my journalism teacher Miss Mootafes, and when I need journalistic advice I’ll look at both of them, meditate and listen carefully. “

Mayne was definitely “old school” and he wasn’t afraid to call local news makers and politicians directly over the phone for a quote, clarification, or more information.

“You don’t need to worry about my personal views on the council,” Mayne once assured a local councilor who was concerned about our reporting. “I don’t have any and if I did I would keep it to myself. My view may be a little old-fashioned, but I believe that objective reporting is paramount. It is my job to treat every council member and every council meeting objectively and not subjectively. “

Mayne leaves behind his two daughters Andrea McEnany and Sara Mayne and two granddaughters.

A memorial service is not yet planned, but will probably soon be held as an online event – more information will follow.

Below are memories and thoughts from some of Mayne’s friends and co-workers (if you have a statement you’d like to share please email it at [email protected]):

“I walked into Jack Mayne’s office – and his life – on January 23, 1991. He was editor of the Valley Daily News in Kent and I was looking for my first job as a journalist. We hit it off immediately, and although he had nothing available at the time, he told me to keep checking with him.

“I did. I called him punctually every Wednesday for almost five months. After that, he joked for years:” I had to hire her! She wouldn’t leave me alone! “

“Like many men of the steely, silent generation, Jack could be an intimidating presence. But that feeling never seemed to carry over to the women in the editorial office – only to the men. Some men are women men; they get along best with women and have their strongest friendships with women. Jack was a woman’s husband. He enjoyed talking to women and was kind to all of us. We loved him.

“As a new general contract reporter, Jack didn’t necessarily have to deal with me. But he took the time to talk to me and work with me. Like most young writers, I tended to use too many words in building my stories. To this day Jack gave me the best writing advice I have ever received: ‘The story is not finished when no more words can be added, it is when no more words can be left out.’

“About 10 years ago I sent him one of my stories for him to see, as I often did. Jack told me the play was standout and that I had become the writer he always knew I could be based on the talent and intelligence he saw in me when we first met. Words cannot express how much that meant to me. I can’t think of any compliment I’ve ever received that compares to this one.

“Our friendship went beyond my employment with him, through job changes for both of us, through life events, through ups and downs. He guided and looked after me and I grew up. We went on trips, went to the movies, went to lunch, made each other laugh, and talked and talked. Every now and then, after he’d helped me with something again, I would ask him how I could ever repay him.

“‘Just pass it on,” he replied with a smile.

“I have. Over the years I have coached and loved a lot of young people through coaching and teaching, just as he looked after and loved me. A few of these younger people have become family to me, just like Jack was. Man could well say that Jack and I created a family legacy together.

“During our last conversation on the phone, Jack was irritated by me. I said over and over again, “I love you! I love you! “Until he calmed down. I’m relieved that this was among my last words to him. But that doesn’t mean I won’t finish crying for a while.

“On behalf of everyone whose trip you made a little smoother, thank you Jack. Your life really made a difference. “

– Sue Favor, Los Angeles

“I first met him in the early 1970s when he was City Editor for the Seattle Post Intelligencer, and we became friends. Our friendship resumed when I found him on Facebook and initially practically renewed our friendship. It evolved into a meeting in West Seattle at West 5 at least once a month to “cry and cry”! The pandemic changed things, but we managed to keep our friendship together. He will be missed! I loved hearing about him being a young American in the Royal Navy, which you have to admit is pretty unusual! And he got to know his enduring relationships with people in South Africa during his time there. He often talked about maybe retiring there if he ever retired! We all hurt, that won’t happen now! “

– Peggy Maze Johnson

“Honoring Jack Mayne will be a difficult thing.

“Not because he was a reporter, but because he was a very private person who only told a few people about himself.

“However, he accepted me into this small group for a short time.

“When his very good friend Peggy Maze Johnson introduced us to us about 4 years ago, it was friendship at first sight.

“I was and will be a councilor in Des Moines until December 31, 2021 when we met.

“We had great discussions and he always honored the fact that I would not speak derogatory or specifically about the council or the city of Des Moines.

“We still had great discussions about how councils and politics in general work.

“He and I agreed that ‘good’ news outlets like newspapers, television, and now social media sites had resorted to sensationalism. The factual coverage of facts was / is almost lost. Of course, we also had big differences of opinion! Hahaha, but in the end I didn’t agree.

“Jack loved living in West Seattle but eventually had to move – like many people because of unfair rent increases.

“He moved to our town of Des Moines and his girlfriend Peggy and I got to see each other a little more over a glass of wine at our local Tuscany restaurant in Des Moines Creek.

“Jack got sick about 2 months ago and maybe felt like he would be fine one day. I wish he had recovered because we will miss our spirited but warm friend Jack Mayne very much.

“Rest in peace my friend – rest in peace.”

– Always and warmly, Luisa Bangs

“Our gratitude for Jack’s presence in our lives and business overflows. He was and remains a key figure in the history of building The B-Town Blog and South King Media. He took the opportunity at a start-up and brought inspiration, talent and commitment to our team. We honor his memory with love. “

– Theresa Schäfer, South King Media

“Jack Mayne was one of the last Real Reporters. A true journalist guided by ethics and standards. I’m glad I had the opportunity to work with him on The B-Town Blog. At our town meetings and candidate forums, he asked tough but always fair questions. I will always remember Jack Mayne. “

– Mark Neumann

“Known for its niceness among fashionable newspaper people, ‘Riverboat Gambler’ may be too obscure a comparison now.”

– Marsha Milroy, former employee at Seattle PI

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