Award-winning journalist

Associated Press editor Staats retires

The career-long journalist
has made his mark worldwide

By Ruth Wright
Staff Writer

CRESTWOOD, Ky. (June 2003) – Former journalist Ed Staats is more accustomed to asking questions than answering them. That’s not too surprising, considering he spent 41 years with the Associated Press, one of the world’s oldest and largest news organizations, before retiring in Crestwood, Ky.
From 1961 to 2002, Staats wore many different hats with the AP, from reporter to editor to administrator. He relocated often, serving in 10 different cities including Austin, Texas,; Dallas; Houston; Denver; Spokane, Wash.; Salt Lake City; Albany, N.Y.; New York City, Washington, D.C.; and Louisville.

Ed Staats

Ed Staats with his
Hall of Fame Award.

The son of an Army officer, Staats said growing up in a military family prepared him for the frequent transfers he experienced as an adult. Born in 1939 in Parkersburg, W.Va., Staats moved at least a dozen times during his formative years, including once overseas to Germany, where he lived from age 9-13.
Staats spent several years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and contemplated a career in the military before attending the University of Texas at Austin, where he received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and went to work for the AP.
Subsequent promotions and moves about the country often landed him in the middle of significant happenings. On Nov. 21, 1963, in Houston, Staats covered a testimonial dinner attended by President John F. Kennedy the night before his assassination in Dallas. The aftermath of the assassination became what Staats called one of the most intense periods of his career.
Staats came to Kentucky in 1984, “just in time for the presidential debates,” he said. In Louisville, where he served as Kentucky chief of bureau, Staats covered yet another major tragedy, the May 14, 1988, bus crash on I-71 near Carrollton in which 27 people were killed, mostly children.
Although Staats witnessed many unfortunate events unfold during his career, he also had the pleasure of covering many auspicious affairs. “Not all news is bad, despite what readers sometimes think,” said Staats. Covering the Kentucky Derby was one of the highlights of his tenure in Louisville, he said.
Disregarding frequent moves and constant deadlines, Staats seemed quite pleased with his experience with the AP. Founded in 1848, the non-profit news cooperative provides news, photos, graphics, audio and video to more than 15,000 news outlets in the United States and 121 countries worldwide. “The Associated Press is viewed as the bedrock of journalism in this country and around the world,” said Staats.
In April, Staats was honored with induction into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, one of the highest honors for a journalist within the state. The Hall of Fame inducts only a handful of journalists each year, with the requirement that they be Kentucky natives or have spent a substantial amount of time as a journalist in the commonwealth.
Staats retired from the AP last year and resides in Crestwood, Ky., with Charlene, his wife of 41 years. Now that he’s retired, Staats said he has more time to volunteer. He currently serves on the board of directors and the executive committee of the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana and does some newsroom consulting.
Charlene Staats said she always looked at her life on the move as positive but is glad to have finally settled in one place.
Her husband agreed. “After moving so much, being able to develop roots was important,” Staats said. “We really enjoy Kentucky.”

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