Death – Another prolific journalist has passed away: longtime Burien resident Cliff Rowe

Death – Obituary

We’re sad to report that another prolific local journalist has passed away – Cliff Rowe – who lived in Burien and wrote a column called “Cliff’s Edge” for South King Media for a few years.

Rowe passed away Jan. 5, 2022, due to complications from existing health conditions. He was 84.

He lived in Burien for 50 or so years, and we’re honored to have worked with him to publish a regular column (“Cliff’s Edge“) starting in 2017, and consider him one of our favorite journalism mentors.

Rowe taught journalism at PLU as a part-time instructor in 1975 while on the news staff at The Seattle Times. Prior to joining The Times in 1969, he had worked in daily newspapers in Portland, Ore., Chicago and the Chicago suburbs. In fall of 1980, he left The Times to help launch PLU’s print-journalism program as a full-time professor. Until retiring, he taught across a wide range of courses in journalistic writing, editing and theory. His primary area of interest continues to be media ethics.

He received his B.A. degree from Pacific University in Oregon in 1958 and a M.S.J. degree from Northwestern in 1963.

We first met Rowe after he participated in an hour-long discussion about the “branding” of Burien at City Hall in 2017.

“It was an interesting discussion, and I learned a lot about the community in which I’ve lived for 46 years,” he said at the time. “Mostly I learned that I really don’t know much about present-day Burien. I’m embarrassed to say, for example, that I didn’t know Burien had a local blog. I obviously need to get out more. Today, I went to your blog, and I’m glad I did. As one who loudly and regularly laments the decline of news media in general, but local media in particular, I’m pleased to meet you. At the Tuesday session the 16 participants were asked at one point to select one word that best describes Burien as we saw it. I was one of three people who selected the word “potential” – that’s potential as in The B-town Blog. I’ll be a regular visitor and thank you for providing that opportunity.”

After that message, we had coffee with Rowe at 909, and convinced him to write a column for us.

Read some of ‘Cliff’s Edge’ columns here.

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What Is An Obituary

In national newspapers an obituary (obit for short) is a news article that reports the recent death of a prominent person. Although it tends to focus on positive aspects of the subject’s life this is not always the case. According to Nigel Farndale, the Obituaries Editor of The Times: “Obits should be life affirming rather than gloomy, but they should also be opinionated, leaving the reader with a strong sense of whether the subject lived a good life or bad; whether they were right or wrong in the handling of their public affairs.”

In local newspapers, an obituary may be published for any local resident upon death. A necrology is a register or list of records of the deaths of people related to a particular organization, group or field, which may only contain the sparsest details, or small obituaries. Historical necrologies can be important sources of information.