Longtime Daily Inter Lake Managing Editor Frank Miele this week announced his retirement.
Miele, 63, announced his decision to the Inter Lake staff on Wednesday, at which time Inter Lake Publisher Rick Weaver also announced that Regional Editor Matt Baldwin will take over as managing editor on Sept. 27. Miele has worked with Baldwin for the past two years and said he is glad for the continuity in the newsroom.
Miele has been managing editor of the Inter Lake since 2000 and celebrated his 34th year at the newspaper in January. He was hired as wire editor at the Inter Lake by former Managing Editor Dan Black in 1984, and later assumed roles as entertainment editor and editor of the Flathead Business Journal for nearly 10 years.
“I can’t look back without thinking of all the hundreds of people I have worked with through the years,” Miele said Friday. “The Inter Lake gave me a family when I didn’t have one, and then when I did have a family of my own, it gave me a way of supporting them, so I will always be grateful for the opportunity to serve this community with people I love.”
Miele said that although the Flathead Valley has changed immensely in the nearly 35 years he’s been here, one thing that hasn’t changed is the Inter Lake’s passion for “telling the story of our local people.
“Fortunately that will continue in the coming years as Matt takes over as managing editor,” Miele said. “He’s spent more than a decade in this community, and will be well-positioned to make sense of the changes yet to come.”
Baldwin joined the Inter Lake newsroom in 2016. He previously was editor of the Whitefish Pilot. Baldwin lives in Whitefish with his wife, Sadie, and two young daughters, Isla and Samantha.
Miele’s earlier career in journalism was spent at the Bismarck (North Dakota) Tribune and briefly at the Los Angeles Daily News. He was raised in New York state, studied anthropology in New Orleans at Tulane University, then moved west in 1977 to study creative writing in the graduate program at the University of Montana and later the University of Arizona. He never took a journalism class, but said he learned the craft by growing up in New York and reading the Daily News, New York Post and New York Times every day.
He has published poetry and criticism in a number of small magazines including the Whitefish Review. For the past 14 years, he has written his popular “Editor’s 2 Cents” column every Sunday in the Inter Lake’s Montana Perspectives section.
“Some people love me and some people hate me, but my goal has always been to educate, not to irritate,” Miele said. “My column started out as a weekly collection of personal reflections, but after one reader scolded me for not doing enough to help the country I loved, I decided to dedicate myself to an honest critique of politics, the media and culture.
“If you happened to fall on the down side of that critique, you probably didn’t like me,” Miele continued, “but it should be obvious I always spoke from the heart. I’m grateful to publishers Tom Kurdy and Rick Weaver for giving me the opportunity to express myself freely for so long.”
Weaver, who has personally known Miele for nearly 35 years and worked with him for over a decade, said “of all the people I have met in my career Frank is certainly in the top five of people who have grown or evolved over time.
“There is no doubt his column has been a hotbed of discussion for years and I imagine many people will be sad to see Frank and his column retire,” Weaver said. “Of course, there are probably people rejoicing at the same time ... One thing people who don’t know Frank personally probably don’t understand is his deep love of our country, state and community. In his mind that is what came first and what he tried to represent in his column each week.
“Frank clearly understands the rights of free speech and the press and tried, probably to a fault at times, to treat everyone fairly and the same,” Weaver said. “I am sure there are folks who don’t believe that statement, but those folks probably don’t know him.
“We wish Frank well in his much-deserved retirement,” Weaver added.
Miele lives in Kalispell with his wife River and their son Huzhao. Their oldest son, Carmen, graduated from the University of Montana and lives in Missoula, and their daughter, Meredith, is attending Montana State University in Bozeman.
“It’s hard to say goodbye to a career I have loved, but the time has come for me to move on,” Miele said. “My youngest son is 8, and I want to be able to spend as much quality time with him as I can while I’m still young enough to do so.”