Weekly editor to retire in February | December 3, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - December 3, 2010

Weekly editor to retire in February

Jay Thorwaldson will write regular column and explore teaching possibilities

by the Palo Alto Weekly staff

After a career that included award-winning reporting and editing for more than 50 years, Palo Alto Weekly Editor Jay Thorwaldson announced this week that he will retire from his position in February.

This story contains 872 words.

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Posted by Paul Kandell, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 3, 2010 at 10:11 am

Kudos to Jay on a job well-done and best wishes for rewarding life in retirement. I've known Jay only for the past decade but have been impressed with his stewardship of the Weekly's editorial staff and coverage. He's been at the helm of one of the nation's most forward-looking, ethically run institutions in community media, and his long memory, news judgment, humor, and dexterity in adapting to the challenges brought on by digital media, have served Palo Alto readers well. One final note: Thank you, Jay, for your generosity in working with the local student press -- and its advisers. We're all better for our connections with you. Looking forward to seeing your byline for many years to come.

Posted by the watcher, a resident of another community
on Dec 3, 2010 at 10:19 am

Thank you Mr. Thorwaldson for always being there for the Palo Alto News. I have witnessed (over the years) your fairness and impartiallity as an editor. When you gave comment to the many post, it seems as though you were always setting the stories straight for those who were missing the point.
I could go on and express a lot of sentimental verbiage of how much you have been appreciated IMO. However my closing thought is please know that you have been a positive force in a city that can sometimes be biased and very opinionated in regard to the little guy. You are a wonderful star. My hopes is that you have a rewarding and happy retirement. You will be missed.

Posted by Bob Harrnington, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 3, 2010 at 10:22 am

Jay provides valued leadership covering Palo Alto issues in a timely, thoughtful and trusted manner.

Jay well deserves the many accolades he has received, and will continue receiving.

Job exceedingly well done, Jay.

Posted by Henrietta J. Burroughs, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 3, 2010 at 10:34 am


It was inevitable that this announcement would be made one day. Congratulations to you for all of the contributions that you have made to the community and for the gift of your journalistic skills that you have shared with so many. Many of us will look forward to reading your upcoming articles.

Best wishes!

Posted by Penny, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 3, 2010 at 10:43 am


I will miss your thoughtful, guiding hand as editor of the Weekly. I am sorry to see you leave this role, but I look forward to enjoying more of your writing.

Warmest wishes...

Posted by Len Filppu, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 3, 2010 at 11:11 am

You gave us all a fair shake... often gave it to those who deserved it... gave all of yourself to the job... and gave this community a first-rate newspaper. Thank you. We are deeply appreciative.

Posted by Henry Breitrose, a resident of Stanford
on Dec 3, 2010 at 11:13 am

Jay Thorwaldson is a local treasure. He's a first-rate journalist, who has been deeply involved over the years in many aspects of what makes our area a great place to live. Under his editorship, the PA Weekly has been a trusted source of information, and a model of community journalism.

(Full disclosure: My son worked on the PA Weekly some years ago as education writer. Fuller disclosure: He said that Jay was a terrific boss and mentor to young journalists.)

Posted by Claude Ezran, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 3, 2010 at 11:35 am


I dreaded that inevitable day. Thank you so much for all the great things you have done for this community over the years. We will miss you terribly, but a least I am glad to hear that you will still remain involved with Palo Alto.

Posted by Russell Hancock, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Dec 3, 2010 at 11:46 am

Jay is a Palo Alto treasure. We owe him a great debt of gratitude.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 3, 2010 at 11:49 am

Dear Jay,
Thank you for your excellent work. Thank you for your high quality contributions to vital community journalism. I look forward to reading whatever you write.
Best wishes from a fellow San Jose State grad

Posted by Marlene Prendergast, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Jay is an institution in our community. I am glad you are not letting him fade away. But who will we gab out the good old days with?

Posted by Amy, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 3, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Reading the above comments prompted me to deal with the emotions I feel about Jay's retirement and formulate some thoughts sooner than later. Working with Jay these past 10 years will forever remain a highlight; both professionally and personally speaking. A man, totally dedicated to his community - NEVER in a hurry to rush a conversation with anyone wanting to talk and reminisce. Watching Jay over the years with our young editorial interns has been amazing - wanting to teach and give them guidance as they start out their careers in journalism, as someone must have once done with him. Knowledgeable, kind...a mentor to many.
Mostly, I have been touched by this man's humility and will forever be grateful to call him my friend.

Posted by Jay Thorwaldson, editor emeritus
on Dec 3, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Jay Thorwaldson is a registered user.

Hi all -- I am deeply touched by the sentiments. Thanks. But I really don't plan on being too far away, or too silent. ;-)>
My best to all. -jay

Posted by A Jay Fan, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Congratulations to Jay. He navigated the fraught, often frothing waters of Palo Alto public life with a calm wisdom supported by unfailing good judgement.

In a community brimming with out-sized egos, Jay was a study in modestly harnassed to keen intelligence. In a place that contained so many know-it-alls, Jay knew a great deal more than most anyone else.

Best of all he didn't need to trumpet any claims about how well he knew Palo Alto.Instead, in his unassuming way, Jay DID know Palo Alto inside out - and everybody else knew he did too.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Dec 3, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Jay - what a pleasure to know him, to work with him and to read his thoughtful words. And thank goodness he assures us that he won't be too far away.

Thanks for all the thoughts, words and wisdom. You have served our community well.

Posted by Andrea, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Bye Jay-hopefully we can now get someone actually who's police friendly running this!

Posted by who cares, a resident of Triple El
on Dec 3, 2010 at 4:36 pm

What? No banner headline stating Jay Thorwaldson "jumps ship" as he proudly pronounced as 20/30/40 year City of Palo Alto employees who served the public with honor were greeted when they recently retired. Mr. Thorwaldson's one sided bandwagon reporting on public employee staff and cowtowing to Palo Alto city management and city council won't be missed.

Posted by Betsy Bechtel, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 3, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Think of the stories Jay can tell about Palo Alto and Palo Altans. He is a treasure, but I am counting on his continuing involvement.

Posted by Joseph Kott, a resident of another community
on Dec 3, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Congratulations to Jay Thorwaldson, a good man who is a credit to profession of journalism and a civic treasure to the community of Palo Alto.

Posted by Sue Dremann, Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on Dec 3, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Sue Dremann is a registered user.

I just wanted to say that it's been such a pleasure working with Jay for the past 9.5 years. Amy, thank you for expressing the essence of Jay so well in your post.

I have learned so much from Jay. I am forever indebted to him for his kindness, wisdom, mentoring and fine editing. Professionally and personally, I feel so fortunate to know Jay and to call him my friend.

Jay allowed me the freedom to grow as a journalist and if not for the opportunities he helped provide, I would not be a writer today.

Jay is, as a colleague said, irreplaceable. We in the newsroom will feel a huge hole when he retires and will deeply miss his daily humor and stories.

Enjoy, Jay! Finally, no deadlines!

Posted by Nancy Brown, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 3, 2010 at 8:06 pm


How lucky you are to hear these wonderful words spoken about your contribution to our community. I add my thanks and looks forward to some new projects we can do together!

Posted by Ray Bacchetti, a resident of University South
on Dec 3, 2010 at 10:17 pm

We have been lucky all these years to have had Jay telling our stories. With style and integrity he's told us about ourselves in his reportorial work. And in editorials and opinion pieces we've gotten his always useful and often provocatively edgy take on issues. Even though he's good, we don't have to rely only on him because he has hired and mentored a superb cadre of journalists. No one is indispensable, and we can count on the Weekly's leadership to find a worthy successor. But she or he will be different and will take a while to get to know us as well as Jay does. He tells us we can count on him to keep writing, and that's good news. But he'll be missed. Thanks, Jay, for a good long run at the helm, a stretch of first-rate newspapering for which we can all be grateful.

Posted by PAPD-Critic, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 4, 2010 at 8:06 am

Jay will be remembered for his thoughtful contributions to censorship. “[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]”

Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South
on Dec 4, 2010 at 10:31 am

stephen levy is a registered user.


You have been a joy to read and then to know and work with.
Thanks for your contributions to journalism and to the Palo Alto community.

Enjoy the absence of deadlines and now you can join Town Square in a new capacity.


Posted by PAPD-Critic, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 4, 2010 at 3:03 pm

To Posted by Sue Dremann, Palo Alto Weekly staff writer, on Dec 3, 2010 at 10:23 am
Sue Dremann is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online

PAPD-Critic --

Editing of Town Square is done by any one of our editors and not just by Jay.

Content is removed when it is: libelous, baiting, racist, threatening, obscene or serves no useful purpose other than to incite.

Posters are often passionate about their views and do sometimes cross the line, however well intentioned.


The First Amendment was not designed to protect favorable speech. Favorable speech needs no protection.

I have seen the editors whomever they are change the contents of the post in addition to deleting the post altogether.

Even some of the most innocuous postings have been deleted or changed and I consider this the most veiled threat to our constitutional and the right to free speech.

The Palo Alto Online historically, has shown a flagrant attitude of censorship in this regard.

Another tactic the editor(s) use is too cut-off further comments by and through registration.

Posted by Another Weekly critic, a resident of Stanford
on Dec 4, 2010 at 4:21 pm

PAPD-Critic--while I agree with much of what you say, the answer I have gotten from the staff is that this is a private forum and they can edit it anyway they want and if I do not like it to take my business elsewhere--surprising attitude for a newspaper!!!
It is obvious that certain people are allowed to say whatever they want on this forum, even if it is irrelevant to the topic of the thread. Certain members of the community are above criticism on this forum,even though they are public officials and therefore give up some degree of being immune to criticism.
Even though I post here I do not take the Weekly seriously as a newspaper or a source for news--to me it is a weekly 40 pages of advertisement, with an article or two of them leading the cheers for the powers that be in the city.

Posted by PAPD-Critic, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 4, 2010 at 5:40 pm

To: Posted by Another Weekly critic, a resident of Stanford, 1 hour ago. Very well stated.....

"Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burned women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears."

Justice Louis D. Brandeis

The Weekly / Palo Alto Online have clearly demonstrated these fears (Sue Dremann, Palo Alto Weekly staff writer and others) and therefore have been actively engaged in the suppression of free speech.

Posted by long-time reader, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 4, 2010 at 8:15 pm

You two are amazing. You repeatedly avail yourselves of this forum and the great opportunity the Weekly has provided the community to connect, then you turn around and condemn it! Either accept that the Weekly editors have every right to edit or remove your stuff or go somewhere else. Your constant complaining is just juvenile.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 4, 2010 at 9:31 pm

The upside is that we will fresh, young, new talent.

It is always hard to get the old guys to give up control---we hope the process happens quickly in this case

Posted by Longer time reader, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 4, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Long time reader-your comments are exactly the same heard from the editors.however some people think that a forum run by a newspaper would have a higher regard for freedom of speech.of course that would assume that the weekly is considered to be a newspaper.

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