By: Editorial Staff
THE LAST TIME Neal Shine retired from the Detroit Free Press, newsroom employees greeted the beloved senior managing editor by moving his desk onto the sidewalk of Lafayette Boulevard.
That 1989 retirement lasted barely nine months as the Free Press coaxed him back to become publisher at a time when the newspaper needed a big morale boost in the uncertain early days of its joint-operating agreement with erstwhile rival Detroit News.
Now, Shine has retired again. But in the midst of the bitter five-month-old strike against the Free Press and News, there were no playful pranks as he left.
Indeed, in the early days of the strike, Shine, like other “Freep” executives, was jeered and insulted by some former newsroom charges. Perhaps owing to the stress of the strike, he was hospitalized about a week after it began.
Shine was a newsroom favorite as an editor and columnist. He joined the Free Press in 1950, making $3.55 a day as a part-time copy boy. In a farewell column Dec. 10, Shine said when he agreed to come back to the paper in 1990, he had said he would stay only until he turned 65, which he marked last September. He did not mention the strike in his column.
With Shine’s retirement, effective Dec. 31, top managers at the “Freep” were each promoted a step.
As publisher, Shine was replaced by executive editor Heath Meriwether.
Replacing Meriwether in the executive editor slot is former managing editor Bob McGruder.
Chip Visci, who had been deputy managing editor for business and features, was named managing editor.