Alumni Spotlight

Publishers, editors, ad men part of department's rich heritage

These three alumni, from what was then the School of Communications, represent a rich journalistic and advertising legacy. Learn more about Hal Newsom (BA, 1952), president and CEO of Cole & Weber when it was the largest advertising agency in the Northwest; William Lewis (BA, 1942), who was co-publisher of the Lynden Tribune and several other newspapers; and Bill Bates (BA, 1946), former editor and publisher of the Snohomish County Tribune.

William Lewis: B.A., 1942

Bill LewisWilliam Lewis joined the staff of the Lynden Tribune as associate publisher in 1945 after his release from the military. He became editor and columnist as well as co-publisher, serving until his retirement in 1984.

He is a past vice-president of the Westside Record Journal, Blaine and Ferndale, Washington; co-publisher of the Point Roberts, Washington Ocean Star and founder of the Blaine Air Force station Bubble Gazette. He is the recipient of 13 editorial and feature awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association (WNPA).

He received the education editorial award from the Washington Education Association, the John L. Fournier Award for community service to the WNPA and the newspaper industry and the Washington State Farm Bureau Editorial Award in 1977. He served as President of the WNPA in 1979. Lewis is a member and past president in the Lynden Lions and a member and past president and life member of Lynden Kiwanis Club. He received the distinguished service and first citizen award by the Whatcom County Council in 1984 and was president of the Lynden Chamber of Commerce in 1980.

He organized reunion associations for USS Frazier and Northwestern Midshipmen and received the Lone Sailor Award for service to the USS Frazier Association in 1992. During WWII, Lewis was assigned to the USS Frazier DD607 at Adak in the Aleutians and served in the South Pacific campaigns of Kwajalean, Tarawa, Pelieu, Yap, and other campaigns. He holds four campaign ribbons and 12 battle stars.

During his career as a UW student, Lewis was business manager of The Daily and an honorary member of Fir Tree and Oval (a university society that draws on one member from each of the undergrad classes). He also played clarinet in the Husky Band.

In recognition of the 65th anniversary of World War II, The Desert Sun staff writer Denise Goolsby featured Lewis and other WWII veterans living in Coachella Valley in a series called Honoring Our World War II Heroes.

Excerpt from There's an Owl in Our Belfry: and other notions of a small town editor

April 3, 1975
By Bill Bates

Too cheap to pay? Start a compost pile.

My compliments to the county commissioners on taking the only action that could possibly induce me to stop talking about starting a compost pile and begin doing something about it.

They decided to charge for using the county dump. My Scotch instincts rebel against paying for disposing of my residue, so this summer our family is going to recycle the coffee grounds, employ the broken egg shells and store the moldy leaf.

In short, the Bates compost pile is about to be born.

For inspiration, my organic daughter brought home a used copy of Rodale’s encyclopedia of compost, a four-inch thick volume that runs to over fifteen-hundred pages. My question is, partly, how much information does one need to collect about four cubic feet of good rotten compost for next year’s ten-by-ten vegetable garden? So far, Rodale’s work lies threateningly on the corner of the coffee table, unread and unopened. I think I will give it the honor of becoming the first layer of my pile.

I haven’t always been this determined to collect nature’s bounty and return it to nature. For years I bought bags of commercial fertilizer and weed killer and spread it around without a qualm certain that agri-business had improved on nature and that the growing things I desired would prosper and the noxious weeds would gracefully grow themselves to death in some grotesque macabre of the greensward.

During my commercial fertilizer period there were years when I thought I had my buttercup down for the count. Ugly patches of them would curl high, turn yellow, collapse and disappear. Down, but not out. In a month, the wiry offspring, now mutated to thrive on the weedicide that did in their parents, would pop into view, convincing me that the hardy buttercup would soon take over the world, along with the housefly made invincible by regular doses of DDT.

Woven like a grand thread through my career as a sometime gardener has been the mystique of the mulch. Certain gardeners in and around Snohomish enjoy the status of superstars. Compared to these prolific growers of succulent produce and the lavish lairds of bounteous blooms I am the worm fisherman to the lifelong devotee of the dry fly. All of these gardeners par excellence enjoy one thing in common — they mulch.

Gargantuan squash, clusters of long green beans, gooseberries big as thumbnails, crispy cucumbers, golden ears of fresh corn, mountains of new potatoes, sweet peaches, firm parsnips and cornucopias of carrots spring from soil, bush and tree for these paragons of produce and the so-called green thumb, if what I hear is true, has nothing to do with it.

Mulch, developed in a dark protected corner, in layers that are as ordered and meaningful as the ageless sedimentaries deposited by the sea over aeons of geologic time, account for these breathtaking oases of plenty that adorn the backyards and vacant lots of the town they’ve called “The Garden City” since the dawn of time. My entry in the compost sweepstakes is a late one and, I fear, doomed to failure, but I must try once before I die.

I would like to reach the status where I could consider gift-wrapping my compost in vintage years and sending it at Christmastime to my friends who have everything. Then, of course, I would reject the notion, since my compost would be much too good for them.

Bill Bates: B.A., 1946

Bill Bates is the former editor and publisher of the Snohomish County Tribune. He has lived in Snohomish with his family since the late '50s and at their current home since the early '60s.

The Bates are the second owners of the 1904 building located in the historic district of Snohomish. Bill went to the UW in the early '40s where he worked for PA Kennedy and wrote for Columns (when it was a humor magazine).

He interrupted his studies for the war and returned in late 1945 to finish his degree. He was the summer editor for the Daily and, upon graduation, worked in Pasco and Kelso as a journalist.

He received a job offer from Snohomish Tribune owner Tom Dobbs to sell ads, which he did for 3-4 years. After Dobbs passed away unexpectedly, Bates became a major owner of the paper. He has many stories about his time as the publisher, ad man, columnist, journalist, etc — covering most of the jobs required on a small paper — including the moral dilemmas he faced when reporting on friends and neighbors involved in scandals or crime.

Bates compiled many of his columns in the book There is an Owl in Our Belfry. He remembers one story from his days as summer editor at The Daily: There was not much news happening so the editorial staff decided to create their own by putting garbage all over campus, taking pictures, then writing an editorial about the state of the campus. He was surprised by the response they received when dozens of students, outraged by the mess, volunteered to help clean the campus grounds. By that time the staff had already picked up the garbage they so carefully staged and Bates reports that the campus was “really very pristine.”

Hal Newsom: B.A., 1952

Peggy and HalThe first thing you notice about Hal Newsom is his height. He is tall. Walking into his home sitting 20-plus stories above First Hill and overlooking downtown Seattle, you might then notice a series of photographs of Newsom and his wife, Peggy, skiing and rafting with their children or climbing Mount Rainier (he did that twice), or Kilimanjaro. There is also a picture of Newsom on the slopes with champion skier Jean Claude Killy. Add to his outdoor accomplishments a climb up Mount Chirripo, Costa Rica’s highest mountain and marathon running. He is master rower, bicyclist, and he sat on the board of Outward Bound of Seattle. Sitting down to talk to Newsom you would notice almost immediately a sharp wit and clever sense of humor. And unless you know in advance, it’s very hard to notice that Hal Newsom has Parkinson’s disease. He’s fine with that.

An excerpt from Hal Newsom’s poetry

Dogs on Parade

There’s a parade of canines that prance by everyday.
Tails wagging, all upon leashes so they won’t go astray.

And in the master’s hands is carried a plastic sack
Empty going out and loaded coming back.

With lots of stops and starts dogs make the trip
With the master attuned for that all-important sit.

Newsom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1995 and almost immediately plunged into activities related to the disease. He was one of the first board members of Northwest Parkinson's Disease Foundation, which developed the Booth Gardner Parkinson's Care Center at Evergreen Hospital. He sat on the board for eight years and helped create the facility to treat all aspects of Parkinson’s. He also wrote a book to help newly diagnosed Parkinson's people: HOPE-For the Newly Diagnosed Parkinson’s Disease Person. (All proceeds from the book benefit the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation.) He also sat on the board for the Highline Community Hospital for 20 years and is an esteemed past president.

Newsom doesn’t mind telling you about his experiences with Parkinson’s disease, but it is not the first thing you notice about him. And while he may not ski any more, he has a rigorous workout schedule and when Peggy goes skiing he writes poetry that will make you laugh and groan. And that’s just fine with him too.

Newsom graduated from Beloit with a degree in economics before moving to Seattle. Unsuccessful in finding an ad agency job, he enrolled in the UW’s journalism school where he honed his skills in writing, as sports editor of The Daily and built his first advertising campaign with the introduction of a new restaurant, The Burgermaster. He entered the Army as a private destined for the OCS School at Fort Benning, Georgia, but not before 16 weeks of basic training followed by leadership school. When he returned to Seattle in 1955 after his Army tour, he renewed his search for an advertising job in Seattle.

Not long after arriving in Seattle, the Newsoms built a house on Vashon Island, which is where they raised their four children. Newsom remembers getting the electrical work approved on the same day he got the Boeing account for Cole and Weber and felt that somehow the electrical seemed more important at the time. He chronicles the first time he met his wife in Yellowstone Summer.

Peggy and HalNewsom started at Safeco when he first arrived in Seattle and moved on to Cole & Weber, where he stayed until his retirement. Newsom was president and CEO of Cole & Weber when it was the largest advertising agency in the Northwest.  He wrote various TV commercials for Boeing, which aired on Monday Night Football. He is also responsible for the iconic Wien air goose ads. After 33 years, Newsom retired from Cole & Weber, having produced more than 2,000 ads throughout his career. Newsom reminisces about his career and his advertising colleagues in the online piece Marketing Immortals.

Margaret (Peggy) B. Newsom is a UW alum too. She has a B.A. (1953) in Sociology and she earned her M.A. in 1977 from the College Of Education.