Frank Blethen

Frank Blethen • Written May 2016

As publisher of The Seattle Times and, Frank A. Blethen has built a career on his passion for quality, independent journalism that reflects the diversity of the Seattle region, holds the powerful to account and advocates for young people who depend on public education for their futures.

Blethen’s efforts have been recognized nationally with the American Society of News Editors’ News Award, the Asian American Journalists Association’s Special Recognition Award and with six Pulitzer Prizes since he became publisher and chief executive officer of The Times in 1985.

One expression of Blethen’s deep commitment to education was the creation of the two-year Greater good Campaign, which catalyzed a movement against the state Legislature’s defunding of public higher education, ultimately resulting in not only preserving existing funding in 2012, but additional funding in 2013 for higher education. Blethen and The Times also are the proud recipients of the 2013 TACTC (Trustees Association of the Community and Technical and Community Colleges) Partner of the Year Award.

To keep the 120-year-old news organization strong and fulfill its commitment to the community, Blethen has become a passionate advocate for alternative sources of funding—from forging partnerships with philanthropies to creating strategic alliances with corporations around sponsorships and creation of new products—to complement traditional advertising and subscription revenue. 

He and his family also have personally invested tens of millions of dollars to help The Times acquire the technology and expertise to serve the increasingly tech-savvy Seattle market. Today, The Times is one of America’s last independent and locally owned newspapers and the second-largest newspaper on the West Coast. 

Frank is a fourth-generation member of the Blethen family, which founded The  Times in 1896. Currently, there are nine members of the family’s fourth and fifth generations active in the journalism company’s management and governance. In addition to The Times, the family owns the Yakima Herald-Republic, the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin and several Seattle-area weeklies, including the Issaquah Press.

Frank joined the business full time in 1968 and held a variety of training positions at The Times until 1974, when he became publisher in Walla Walla. He is a graduate of Arizona State University and did post-graduate work at Harvard.