By SeattlePI.com Staff
Originally published April 21, 2014
Kenneth F. Bunting, a former top editor and associate publisher at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, has died.
The National Freedom of Information Coalition announced his death. Bunting, who was 65, died from a heart attack on Sunday in Columbia, Mo., it said.
Bunting was executive director of the coalition, which is housed at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., from 2010 until earlier this year.
“Even after he left, he continued to support NFOIC, helping to connect people looking for FOI help and reminding us of pending deadlines and First Amendment news stories of note,” the coalition said in a statement. “He was a strong voice for FOI and government transparency and a great advocate for state coalition groups trying to fight off encroachments on their open government laws.”
During his tenure, the P-I won several regional and national awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes. Both were won by editorial cartoonist David Horsey.
Bunting was named the P-I’s managing editor in October 1993. He came to the newspaper from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where he had been state capital bureau chief, city editor and assistant managing editor
In his long journalism career, Bunting also worked at the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, Cincinnati Post, San Antonio Express-News and Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
His former coworkers at the Seattle P-I reacted with sadness at his death and offered memories of him.
“Ken Bunting had my back, and had that relationship with lots of people. And I will remember his booming laugh – always,” said Joel Connelly, political writer and columnist for both the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and seattlepi.com
“A defender of Freedom of Information, a bright light and a friend. Geez. We will truly miss him,” Eric Nalder, an investigative reporter and Pultizer Prize winner wrote on Facebook.
David McCumber, a former managing editor at the Seattle P-I, wrote: “Ken was a great friend and colleague, a sweet man, a great Dad and a powerful defender of press freedoms, a huge advocate for open government.”
Former P-I reporter Lewis Kamb, now with The Seattle Times, called Bunting “a perennial advocate for a strong free press.”
“Ken was an unwavering supporter of quality journalism who always gave all of himself to the profession’s greater cause. During my nine plus years at the P-I, he stood unflinchingly behind our newsroom and its most controversial work (mine included, I am proud to say), and used his enormous diplomatic skills to defend and enhance press freedoms. But more than anything, Ken was simply a good man who made you feel good. Every time I saw him (or even spoke to him on the phone, in more recent years), he invariably greeted me in his gravelly baritone: ‘Lewis Kamb, great American!’ Rest In Peace, KenB. You’ll be missed.”
Bunting was a proud graduate of Texas Christian University, which honored him in 2010 as the first inductee into its Schieffer (journalism) School Hall of Excellence.
He is survived by a wife, Juli, and son, Maxwell.