Media Moves

WSJ’s Gigot on Melloan’s impact to the paper

October 1, 2020

Posted by Chris Roush

Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot sent out the following to his staff about George Melloan:

All,

I’m very sorry to report that our great longtime editor and colleague, George Melloan, has died. He was 92.

George had one of the most storied careers in Journal history. He worked here for 54 years, starting as a reporter in Chicago and Detroit, then as bureau chief in Atlanta and Cleveland. He became a page-one editor in New York in 1962 and in 1966 went to London as a  correspondent covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He covered the Six-Day War in Israel in 1967 and the Biafran War in Nigeria in 1968.

In 1970 he joined the editorial page and in 1973 became deputy to Bob Bartley. In that role, and later as deputy for the international editions while based in Brussels, George was a mentor to two generations of editorial page writers and editors. The quip around our pages was that Bob was tired of having the Soviet Union around and sent George to Europe to finally win the Cold War. He was certainly among those who stood fast in that struggle and won two Daily Gleaner awards for his reporting on the Soviet advances in Central America. For years he wrote the weekly Global View column and he also won a Gerald Loeb award for commentary. Very few writers can turn out copy as cleanly and effortlessly as George.

He was a generous editor and loyal friend to the page and his colleagues. Much of what I know about news judgment and editing I learned from George. After his retirement at age 77, George continued to write books and contribute to our pages in op-eds and book reviews. I recommend his history of the Journal editorial page, “Free People, Free Markets: How the Wall Street Journal Opinion Pages Shaped America,” which was published in 2017. He was writing to his very last day with a book on the political misuse of science scheduled to be published in January.

Institutions like the Journal are built by its people. All of us stand on the shoulders of men and women like George who set and maintained the highest standards, held to the principles we continue to stand for, and passed those traditions down to all of us.

George’s wife, Jody, is deceased. He is survived by his son, Jim, daughters Molly and Maryanne Melloan Woods, and a granddaughter. We’ll let you know of any memorial arrangements amid the Covid limitations.

All best,

Paul

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