James H. Smith, a past president of the New England Society of Newspaper Editors who began his career in Connecticut covering Bristol, has been named executive editor of The Bristol Press and The Herald in New Britain.
“Jim brings substantial experience in serving community needs, and I believe he will set new standards for journalism in the communities we serve,” said Press and Herald Publisher Michael E. Schroeder. “He will be heading a team of driven, professional writers and editors into a new age.”
“I am utterly thrilled to join Mike Schroeder in his effort to make these newspapers the best they can be,” said Smith. “The staff knows the cities and towns and is dedicated to covering them. Whether it’s our Web sites or our papers, I always aim to make tomorrow’s better than today’s.”
Smith has served as a Pulitzer Prize juror, is the recipient of the Distinguished Writing Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the winners of which appear in the annual volume “Best Newspaper Writing.” He is the author of “A Passion for Journalism, A Newspaper Editor Writes to his Readers,” a collection of columns on the First Amendment and how editorial decisions are made in newsrooms. He twice won the First Amendment Award from the Connecticut Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists, and received the Yankee Quill Award for lifetime contributions to New England journalism.
He is a member of the executive committee of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information.
He was most recently editor of the Connecticut Post in Bridgeport. He served as city editor and sports editor at The Hartford Courant from 1979 to 1984. His first job there as a reporter was to cover Bristol. He also received story assignments in New Britain.
Smith worked for 14 years as the executive editor of the Record-Journal in Meriden and also worked as managing editor at The Day of New London, The News-Times of Danbury and The Register-Citizen of Torrington.
“I have traveled a good deal in Connecticut. It feels really good to be back where it all started,” said Smith.
He is married to Jacqueline Bilodeau Smith, who was born in New Britain and grew up in Plainville. She is a member of the editorial board of the News-Times in Danbury and editor of the Greater New Milford Spectrum. They have four grown daughters.