Let's capture some of why we loved Wilke so much. As one friend of his put it:

"...write up an anecdote – some story where they watched Wilke build up into righteous anger when reporting a story... or ironing out a crease in the fabric of the Journal bureau... And someone should talk about him tearing up when he described taking his kid to college…..Or when he became nearly inconsolable when the anthrax story came back and cost him two fantastic seats at the Nats-Mets game. Describe a time he filled in for people, picked up their loads for them, counseled them, slipped them incredible sources, shared bylines... that will keep him alive and you (and the rest of us) afloat."

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A tough man without hard edges

The thing about John Wilke that was hardest to understand was how such hard-edged journalism could come from a man without a single hard edge in his personality. To my knowledge, nobody disliked Wilke, not even a little—and not even the people he poked in his stories. This in spite of the fact that he knew perfectly well how to be tough.

But, upon reflection, as I write this, it’s not so hard to understand after all. John was the most fair and honest reporter I ever dealt with. As his editor and his bureau chief, I never once got a call from anybody saying they had a grievance with the way John did a story. For somebody who did stories that dealt with such sensitive subjects, and that had such impact, that is a truly amazing thing.

It speaks volumes about John Wilke as a journalist. It speaks even more of him as a person. I hope he’s got the best box seats in the sky for every Red Sox game. He deserves them.

Jerry Seib

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Jerry, for all you have done over the the last few days to move things along. I am sure there was even more than I heard about.
    How great that John had such good friends like you.
    -brother Mark