Hitch, Jim (1936-)

Editor and Publisher of the Ottawa Herald, (1987-1996)

Jim R. Hitch joined the Harris organization as a reporter for the Hutchinson News in August 1966. Born Aug. 11, 1936 at Galena, Kan., he attended the University of Denver for three years.

Before joining the Hutchinson News, he worked as a reporter and wire editor at the Sterling (Colo.) Journal-Advocate from May 1957 through April 1960, and at the Greeley (Colo.) Daily Tribune from May 1960 to August 1966.

At The News he was a reporter, night editor and day editor until being named managing editor of The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa, in July 1972. He was named managing editor of The News in November 1979 and special projects writer in April 1985.

He became editor and publisher of the Ottawa Herald Jan. 15, 1987, and took over as editor and publisher at The Hays Daily News Jan. 1, 1996. He retired from The Hays Daily News Dec. 31, 1999 and now makes his home at Mountain Home, Ark.

Hitch married Joyce Nafzinger Enoch July 25, 1987. He has three daughters, LeAnne, Rhonda and Stephanie, and his wife has two children, Mark and Lynne.

from The Harris Legacy by Lloyd Ballhagen:

Jim Hitch

“[Jim] Hitch, never having been an intern, worked his way up the ranks.  He served as managing editor [at the Burlington Hawkeye] from 1972 to 1979 when Dick Buzbee, the new editor and publisher at Hutchinson, tapped him for managing editor at the [Hutchinson] News.

. . .[H]e wrote some outstanding feature stories for The News.  As a writer, Hitch demonstrated amazing journalistic skills almost unequalled in the [Harris] group’s history.

It was while he was writing these articles that John Lee suggested we take another look at Hitch as a publisher candidate.

For many years, I had admired Hitch’s intelligence and free spirit topped by a wondrous liberal philosophy.  After the interview, I told John Lee of my agreement and said we should consider him for a publishership.

When Bob Wellington retired at Ottawa January 15, 1987, we appointed Hitch to the job, a highly successful gamble.  Hitch immediately began writing an irresistible daily column, improved the paper’s appearance and developed many innovative approaches to running a newspaper.


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