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Jones to retire as Free Lance-Star editor

By RUSTY DENNEN

Edward W. Jones, editor of The Free Lance–Star, is retiring in March after 48 years with the newspaper to become secretary and chief of staff for the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

Jones, 64, made the announcement this morning in the newsroom, where he has served as editor for the past 12 years.

“The last few years have not been the happiest” for the newspaper or the industry because of dramatic changes in the way readers get their news, Jones said. “But in many ways, they have been the most impressive because the staff continues to put out a quality product, despite all the challenges.”

Jones, who lives in Fredericksburg, also served as managing editor, editorial page editor, film critic, radio host, political reporter and columnist. Over the years, he also headed up several professional organizations, serving as president of the Associated Press Managing Editors Association and National Conference of Editorial Writers, Virginia Press Association and as program chair of the American Society of News Editors.

He served on three Pulitzer Prize juries and was inducted into the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame in 2011.

Jones was born in Richmond and grew up on the Navy base at Dahlgren. He received his bachelor of arts degree  from Harvard College, graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1973.

“This newspaper and this community have been extraordinarily fortunate that such a talented guy chose to build his career in his hometown,” said Free Lance–Star Publisher Nicholas J. Cadwallender. “Ed could have led the newsroom of any newspaper in the country. For 48 years, Ed has told the stories of our community with integrity, fairness and compassion.”

“I will personally miss his wise counsel and steady hand during what can only be described as a rocky time in the newspaper industry.”

Jones said his retirement from journalism allows him to pursue another passion: service in the Episcopal Church.

The church today announced that he will acquire a new title: secretary and chief of staff of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. The Rev. Deacon Jones was ordained Saturday after serving his practicum at St. Mary’s in Colonial Beach. Jones has been associated with St. George’s in Fredericksburg for 40 years.

As chief of staff, Jones will serve as senior advisor to the bishops and will advise on litigation, real estate and employment issues within the diocese. He will continue as a deacon at St. Mary’s. Jones replaces Henry Burt, who resigned to take a position with a law firm.

“While I am sad to see him leave The Free Lance–Star, I am thrilled he is taking on such important work with the Episcopal Church,” Cadwallender said. “His talents will continue to enrich the lives of people throughout the commonwealth.”

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