I don’t know that anyone would ever try to emulate Jim Sutton’s journalism career because of the herky-jerky nature of its ascent.
I don’t know that anyone would ever try to emulate Jim Sutton’s journalism career because of the herky-jerky nature of its ascent.
From reporter/photographer to editor, to fishing columnist to editorial writer, most of what Jim has done came without a true plan.
And no one would ever try to imitate Jim because you simply couldn’t. It would be a waste of time.
You can’t write like Jim because you can’t think like Jim. That’s OK, by the way. One Jim Sutton is enough but certainly not too much.
Without even trying, Jim is one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met. I never shy away from listening to one of his stories even if I’ve heard it 10 times before. They only get better with the retelling.
In fact, Jim can just talk about his daily routine, and you’ll probably be entertained. When he tells you some stories of the old days, your side will hurt from the laughter.
Jim is one of those people who I will talk about when I recount my years in this business. He’s a guy I can’t compare with anyone.
Since the 1980s, Jim has been a guy knows all the important people in this town. And he knows that having money or having a certain title aren’t what make you important.
I’ll always be grateful to Jim for hiring me almost 20 years ago. He didn’t try to get me to do things his way and only ever cared about the final product. Those of you who know him understand that Jim has no time for formality.
That’s one of the reasons we’ve always gotten along so well. I’m not much for that, either.
What Jim did teach me inadvertently was not to be awed by those in power and not to let anyone intimidate you into writing or not writing something. I’m still not as fearless as him, but I’m trying.
Remember that we’re talking about a guy who once — that I know of — ran into a burning building, Ketterlinus, to take photos for The Record and ended up helping a firefighter out of the smoke-filled structure.
He never really wanted to tell that story for print because he didn’t want to be considered as a hero. Well, that’s his right.
Jim doesn’t have to be called a hero. That’s a tough moniker to live up to anyway.
What we can call Jim is our friend. And you didn’t have to work with him or fish with him. Anyone who’s been a reader of The Record can claim Jim as a friend.
But don’t take my word for it. There are lots of other people who know what I’m talking about. I asked them and here are the responses:
Fred Whitley, former Record writer and copy editor: I have known Jim Sutton for a very long time and, in addition to being a co-worker for decades, I consider him a friend.
Jim has been the consummate newspaperman holding numerous titles — everything from cub reporter to editor. He really came into his own when he was appointed Opinion Page editor. He has been giving readers well researched and thought-provoking opinion pieces. His sense of humor often is on display — particularly when discussing the inept clowns we have elected to positions in Tallahassee (and elsewhere).
Lastly, Jim’s fishing column is as enjoyable as a Dave Barry or Brian Thompson column. I have friends who have never fished who read the column and enjoy it as much as I do — while I no longer am able to fish, I grew up fishing in local waters and fish vicariously through Jim.
With retirement looming, I am sure Jim will soon be casting a lure or bait in search of “the” big one. Enjoy, my friend.
Anne Heymen, former Record features editor: I am sorry to see Jim Sutton leave The Record. He has done a great job as editorial page editor. His wit and insight will certainly be missed. He has a special way with words that is a true gift.
Personally, I have known Jim for more years than I’d like to admit. Not only is he a gifted writer, but he is a good friend and a caring individual – and of course a great fisherman!
Margo Pope, former Record reporter, editor and editorial writer: Jim Sutton has always had a way with words in the now almost 40 years I have known him!
I’m one of his fans. He’s witty when times and topic need that softer side but, is stern in admonishing officials when their decisions fall short of the public’s confidence in the people they elect. I value the opinions he puts forth in editorials as much as I am a fan of his fishing column (though I have not thrown a line in the water for years). He’s a great friend, too.
Ronnie Hughes, former Record publisher: I’m happy Jim Sutton has decided to retire from a very long career at The St. Augustine Record while he’s still young enough to spend more time at his other lifetime passion — and that’s fishing.
However, I sympathize with the paper’s readers, particularly those who have followed his award-winning editorial page writing for years. They will miss him most. Jim’s editorials have always been insightful and entertaining reading material, whether he’s commenting pro or con on local or state politics or presenting the newspaper’s position on controversial subjects. He never shied away from taking a stand regardless of the backlash.
Jim has given us a viewpoint that was honest, fair, full of humor, and occasionally a little off color — but that’s just Jim’s style. He makes us laugh, a knack lacking in most small town daily newspapers. We will miss his wit, humor and yes, courage, that he has exhibited so well as the Record’s editorial page editor.
Delinda Fogle, former Record publisher: Hiring Jim Sutton at The Record was one of the best decisions I made there as publisher. He did always come through in a pinch from the first time I called him. He had no idea who I was when I left him a voicemail message about a temporary position I had at The Record. In typical Jim fashion, he called me back and said he needed to “come down and meet me” before he would entertain my proposal. That temporary assignment turned into a permanent position as editorial writer. It was a perfect match to showcase his writing, wit and love of St. Augustine.
Jim was a brilliant storyteller. I was amazed at his ability to take a collection of thoughts on anything from fishing to politics and email me back 15 minutes later with an entertaining story ready to print. His community voice and wicked sense of humor will be missed. I wish Jim all the best in his next chapter.