Jack Fuller died Tuesday at the age of 69, just as his latest latest book, One From Without, was being published. It’s described as a novel of “corporate intrigue,” which Fuller, at the end of his long career at the Tribune, would have learned pretty much everything about. I recommend it out of hand.
Fuller edited the Tribune editorial page and then the entire newspaper. Then he was the publisher and eventually he was put in charge of all the Tribune Company newspapers. Along the way he won a Pulitzer Prize and wrote an important book, News Values, on journalistic sins and virtues. When I cleaned out my office in 2012 (because I’d decided to work from home) I had to figure out what to keep. I explained in a column:
I’ve written, sometimes querulously, about Jack Fuller’s meditations on journalism, not to mention his central role in the Tribune Company’s doomed purchase of Times Mirror. But I did read Fuller’s first novel, Convergence . . . and I was surprised by how good it was. So into the small stack of books to take home went his latest, Abbeville.
The one night I met Fuller was an October evening in 2013. I was attending a friend’s daughter’s birthday party at Marie’s, a pizza joint on Lawrence. He came over and introduced himself. I don’t remember whether he brought his trombone with him, but he explained he was there with a bunch of guys he liked to jam with, and they played at Marie’s about once a week.
Uh-oh! I thought, as he said hello. In my head, every carping phrase I’d ever turned at his expense rose up between us. What a nice guy! I thought, when he rejoined his pals. For the rest of the evening the pizza kept coming and so did the music. Finally I borrowed someone’s phone and took a picture, and the next day I put it up on Facebook. “The second life of editors,” I called it in tribute.