William Walsh

Bill Walsh (’84) was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.


Bill Walsh is a man of words, so dedicated to them that when he’s not editing copy for the Washington Post, he’s writing books about copy editing or posting to his renowned copy editing website, theslot.com. So, in his own words, here is Bill’s recollection of his start at the Wildcat:

I’m still in awe of the Wildcat (he writes). As great as Arizona’s journalism school is, there’s no substitute for learning by doing, and what a place to do! Showing up for work in my freshman year as a “copy reader” when I wasn’t quite sure what that was, I’m not sure I could have found a better initiation rite than Gilbert Bailon’s grease-pencil critiques on the bulletin board. Gilbert, Judy Dunwell, John D’Anna, Robert Cauthorn, Kathleen Schultz, Sam Stanton, Phil Matier, Mike Murphy, Drez Jennings and others–so young but so hard-bitten, so tough, so good, and they all scared the hell out of me. Andy Van De Voorde, Scot Skinner, Gene Armstrong–all had such a distinctive voice at such a young age. Frank Miele, Tom Nichols and Tim O’Mara taught me a lot about copy editing. Mike Chesnick and Jodie Snyder are great journalists as well as great friends. I don’t really have any basis for comparison, but I’ll wager that the 1980-84 Wildcat all-star team would kick a good deal of butt, in a historical sense.

Bill’s non-Wildcat all-star career started at the old Phoenix Gazette, where he broke in covering the night police beat. He soon joined the copy desk and when he left the Gazette in 1989 he was assistant news editor for design. At the Washington Times he started as assistant copy chief and rose to copy chief, a position he held for five years before moving to the Washington Post in 1997. Bill has been copy chief of the national desk at the Post since 2003.

In 1995 Bill launched theslot.com, a website for copy editors (and a lot more). He is the author of two books, “Lapsing into a Comma” (2000) and “The Elephants of Style” (2004).

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