Home Book editor Ken Tingley writes and lives as “the last American publisher”

Ken Tingley writes and lives as “the last American publisher”


The ordinary people featured in Ken Tingley’s book are extraordinary.

“America’s Last Editor: A Chronicle of Life, Death, Triumph and Tragedy in a Small Town” features teachers, librarians, veterans, restaurateurs and pastors.

He was the editor of the Post-Star in Glens Falls from 1999-2020. His local news and sports columns were so popular with the community that the mayor signed a proclamation and declared on July 17, 2020, Ken Tingley Day, in honor of his retirement.

However, Tingley was not done with journalism. For the book, he decided to continue with postscripts, which required some journalistic research.

“This genre started right before I retired because I did a series of flashbacks of, I think, 14 columns,” he said. “When I finished choosing the columns, I said, ‘I know how this ends and it’s not here. “” He started researching social media and calling on people to catch up.

“It was really interesting because I got a little obsessed with finding out what happened to these people,” he said. One of the favorite subjects of several columns was Reverend Paul Mead, a former homeless crack addict who abstained upon finding religion.

In one of his columns, Tingley wrote of the pastor’s struggles: “He told his dealer he was leaving, that he was definitely quitting drugs. And Mead told him that the drug dealer “handed a big bag of crack, 3 ½ grams, what they call an 8-ball, and he rubbed the bag between his fingers”, asking him if he was. sure.

The story of the PS of Mead happened when Tingley reposted one of the columns, a favorite. “That morning he called me,” writes Tingley. “I could hear his voice breaking over the phone. He said he had been through difficult things with his family and was questioning himself. Then his wife showed him the column in the newspaper and why it was so important to (Tingley). He said it uplifted him.

Mead’s Columns represented what Tingley considered “where the best of my work began and Paul and I will always be linked because of it”.

Many of his columns got others to take action, like in 2008 when he wrote about a single mother struggling with multiple sclerosis. Readers called Tingley to see if they could help him, by offering him car rides. He found her and she is fine now.

Tingley began to focus on these stories of people when he was seven or eight years old in his tenure as editor. “Things were going well, we were doing really good journalism, but I was missing something because my goal my whole career in life was to be a really good writer and I felt like my columns were in some way. so, you know, they just weren’t strong enough. There wasn’t enough reporting in there, there wasn’t enough of me to get out of the office. Instead of making the calls to beat reporters who may or may not have heard them, he agreed to meet with the callers and hear what they had to say.

“I ended up telling the stories of people who normally don’t have their story to tell,” he said.

“The Last American Editor” by Ken Tingley is available at local bookstores and at the Albany-Renselaer train station. He is working on his next book, “The Last American Newspaper,” which will celebrate the work of Post-Star journalists and editors and the newspaper’s importance to the local community.

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