Rest in Peace Sue Wolf
Hersam Acorn Newspapers is a bit sadder today with the death of Susan Wolf, longtime editor of one of the company’s weekly Connecticut newspapers, The Redding Pilot. Sue died today around noon, after fighting a battle with lung cancer.
Sue was a journalist through and through. She was the editor of The Redding Pilot since 1995, and was previously the editor of the now defunct Bethel Home News from 1978 until 1995. She received a degree in government with a minor in economics from Indiana University, and started her career as a teacher before moving into the field of journalism. During her course as an editor she received more than 35 press newspaper association awards for general excellence, editorial pages, environmental reporting and feature writing.
I met Sue the first day I started with Hersam Acorn Newspapers, as a reporter for the neighboring sister paper, The Weston Forum. Although I had written a weekly newspaper column and occasional stories when I was the First Selectman of New Fairfield, this was my first real newspaper reporting job. I came to journalism later in life and was virtually clueless. An English major in college, I quickly learned that writing fiction had nothing to do with writing for a newspaper. Fortunately, Sue took me under her wing as she did with so many other aspiring journalists, and thanks to her common sense and advice, I survived.
It was very apparent that Sue was a teacher before she went into journalism. You could learn more just sitting on the other side of the room listening to her deal with stories, layout, and angry complaints, than you could in any journalism class. At first I had trouble coming up with ledes, the first paragraph of a news story that’s supposed to give the readers the main point of the story and be interesting, in the least amount of words as possible. Sue would help me when I was stumped by tossing out the perfect opening sentence. Then she spent time explaining what idea and what point I should be trying to get across and how to ferret that out of a complicated story. Her advice was invaluable.
I don’t know how many reporters became editors of their own papers after working for Sue at The Redding Pilot, but the list is quite long. My newspaper’s editor, Kim, was one of Sue’s many protégés. If you were in Sue’s hands, good things would follow.
Readers of The Redding Pilot will miss Sue’s writing and her editorials. But her colleagues are the lucky ones, because we got to know, admire, and love Sue Wolf.