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Kari Howard, Times editor who championed narrative writing, dead at 59



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Kari Howard, a longtime Los Angeles Occasions editor who championed bold narrative journalism and helped edit the 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning sequence on California’s drought, died Monday of most cancers. She was 59.

Howard, a lover of music and writing who regularly quoted favourite songs and story sentences, labored as assistant international editor earlier than changing into editor of Column One, the newspaper’s front-page narrative showcase. She despatched out weekly emails during which she riffed on the musical associations of latest tales. A 2015 story concerning the impact of drought on large sequoias, for instance, reminded her of Jake Bugg’s “Pine Timber.”

“She exuded a love of language and had an unbelievable skill to assist writers inform the tales they needed to inform,” Occasions managing editor Scott Kraft stated. “Writers liked working together with her as a result of she made them so significantly better. She liked tales and she or he had an innate sense of flip a draft of a narrative into one thing that was really particular.”

Howard was one of many editors for Diana Marcum’s sequence on the human penalties of California’s protracted drought, which gained the Pulitzer for characteristic writing the next yr.

“We have been like one mind with that sequence,” Marcum stated. “We’d end one another’s sentences. She by no means noticed these tales as being concerning the drought. She noticed these tales as being about folks exhibiting hope and resilience and character throughout a tough time.”

For Christmas that yr, she purchased Marcum a primary version of John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” one in all many books she gave her.

“She did every thing with this sense of ardour and integrity and whimsy,” Marcum stated. “She had such a mixture of steely resolve and whimsy.”

At The Occasions, Howard met her future husband, journalist Geoffrey Kelly, who died unexpectedly of a coronary heart assault in Hong Kong in 2007.

Reporters sought out Howard to assist them elevate their work and coach them by sophisticated tales. When she was honored with a Occasions editorial award in 2015, the judges famous “she sprinkled her pixie mud on greater than 100 Column Ones, displaying skills that had writers all through the constructing knocking on her door with concepts or just in search of her recommendation about storytelling.”

When she left The Occasions in 2015, Howard wrote a farewell be aware to the employees, saying: “For these of you who don’t know why I’m leaving, I purchased a farmhouse in a city known as Liberty six years in the past, and it’s time I lastly began a brand new life, and new journey, in Maine.”

She chopped her personal firewood, took pleasure in renovating the farmhouse, and posted frequent rhapsodies to the realm on Instagram, with photos of untamed lilies, lighthouses and the Oldest Shoe Retailer in America.

In a single submit, she ran a photograph of her house workplace with vibrant foliage seen by the home windows: “Globe. Books. Typewriter. Cat. Foliage. What else do you want?”

Howard went on to edit Storyboard, the narrative web site of the Nieman Basis, and in early 2018 turned the London-based storytelling editor on the Reuters information service. She described her journalism mantra as “Study intently. Join with folks. Don’t rush.”

Her new house impressed attribute enthusiasm. “I’m about to bore everybody on Instagram with my new obsession: the signage, shutters and glossy doorways of Spitalfields,” she wrote. “I stay on this little pocket of early 18th century Georgian houses, and it’s like a film set. (Apparently it actually is, as a result of interval motion pictures like something Austen are filmed right here.)”

Howard was born in Manchester, N.H., and her father’s work as a telecommunications engineer took her from Arkansas to Scotland as a lady. She studied engineering herself briefly at Clemson College in South Carolina.

“She realized after a semester that wasn’t her calling,” stated her sister, Alison Howard, a Seattle legal professional.

Howard studied literature on the College of North Carolina, Asheville, and journalism at Northwestern College, the place she earned a grasp’s diploma. She labored as a replica editor on the Houston Chronicle and the Abilene Reporter-Information earlier than becoming a member of The Occasions in 1992.

Howard was identified with most cancers in 2018, with the illness already in a sophisticated stage. She returned to Maine from London late final yr and continued working for Reuters till latest weeks.

“As you may inform from my Instagram, I’m not centered on the sickness,” she wrote just lately to a buddy. “I’m looking for pleasure within the smallest issues. And it’s in all places, isn’t it? I’m amazed by the world, and I’m so fortunate and grateful for all of it.”

Alongside together with her sister, Howard is survived by her mom, Diane, of Phoenix.