Changing of the Guard: ProJo Executive Editor Heslin retiring

Apr 3, 2013

Tom Heslin, who oversaw the Providence Journal's Pulitzer-prize winning probe of the state court system in the 1990s, is retiring later this month as executive editor, the paper reports. The move comes after a long and distinguished career encompassing the Journal's glory days.

Heslin, 62, had been on an extended leave of absence for health reasons.

Heslin has worked for 32 years at The Journal, starting as a copy editor in 1981 and moving up the editorial ranks. Under his leadership, the Journal's investigative team was awarded the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for its probe of corruption in the Rhode Island state court system and was recognized as a Pulitzer Prize finalist for public service in 2004 for the newspaper's coverage of the Station nightclub fire.

Heslin helped to found the New England First Amendment Coalition and ACCESS/RI, regional and state nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving public awareness and access to the records and processes of government.

ProJo alum Dan Barry, now with the New York Times, has already offered a tribute to Heslin via Twitter, praising him as a mentor, and more of the same can be expected.

The ProJo's story doesn't make any mention of who will succeed Heslin. He took over from Joel Rawson as executive editor in 2008.

The move comes as the ProJo's longtime editorial page editor, Robert Whitcomb, is set to retire later this year, as my colleague Scott MacKay reports.

I'll have a broader take on Heslin's departure later this week.