Often, we as journalists try to disappear behind our work. The writing must seem straightforward so as not to muddy the waters of impartiality. We try to have as much transparency in our process as …
Often, we as journalists try to disappear behind our work. The writing must seem straightforward so as not to muddy the waters of impartiality. We try to have as much transparency in our process as we can, while also acting as the people behind the curtain who faithfully produce the news each week without fanfare.
This week The Leader is pulling back the curtain to proudly announce a shake up in our office. Kirk Boxleitner, the ever-intrepid reporter you know and love from the A section of the paper will now serve Port Townsend and Jefferson County as Arts & Entertainment editor.
Boxleitner has been with The Leader since December 2016, covering City Hall, education, PUD and transit. Now as he transitions to his new role he must unlearn some of his penchant for hard news to bring Leader readers the arts and community content which fills the B section.
Boxleitner, 44, grew up in eastern Washington, graduated from high school in Massachusetts and attended Syracuse University in New York. He started his career in journalism in the U.S. Navy where he graduated from the Defense Information School’s print and broadcast programs, serving for seven years. His service included overseas deployment in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also served in Italy and Japan, with his last station aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.
Since leaving the military, Boxleitner has continued to serve the public as a civilian journalist in the Puget Sound region for more than 15 years. His reporting for The Marysville Globe, The Arlington Times, the North County Outlook and The Leader has merited him close to 30 awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association. He has covered everything from local government and businesses to multicultural issues and profiles of unique personalities.
Boxleitner moved to Jefferson County to be close to his parents, who retired to Cape George in 2015. When he began working for The Leader, he said in an introductory interview with KPTZ, “I look forward to finding the heart and spirit of the community.”
When former Arts Editor Chris McDaniel informed his coworkers he would be leaving The Leader to finish his undergraduate degree and seek a Masters in Divinity, Boxleitner reflected on those words.
“I’ve covered a number of cities and towns that see their local arts scenes as essential parts of the heart of their community, and it’s absolutely true for Port Townsend,” Boxleitner said. “It’s part of why my parents chose this area, not just to be their next home, but their last home, and it’s a key component to the shared quality of life for everyone who lives here.”
Arts section junkies and local artists shouldn’t be surprised to find changes in the section as Boxleitner settles into his new role. He said he aims to ensure that any changes will be of benefit to the community.
“When I debuted my film review column in The Leader right after the Port Townsend Film Festival of 2017, I told my readers that it was an experiment,” Boxleitner said. “The same could be said of my Arts pages. I’m going to be working collaboratively with my fellow Leader staff members, and with the larger arts community, to see what works and what doesn’t. I’m hoping our local artists will be patient with me, since they know the value of experimentation in creation.”