Alumnus Wilford Kale reflects on H. Mason Sizemore's legacy

To Flat Hat staffers in the early 1960s he was simply called, “H.” He became Mason Sizemore in his professional career, which spanned many decades, primarily with the Seattle Times.

For me, as an entering freshman in September 1962, H was “the man;” the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, the primary reason I came to William & Mary.

H was a senior and had garnered many journalistic and collegiate accolades, including president’s aide and the Publications Council. Hundreds of his classmates, not to mention the dozens of Flat Hat staff members, looked up to him.

Having worked for the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer in the sports department for three years before William & Mary, I had “professional” experience, but H was the very best. Having produced three decades of my own work in the professional field, I can honestly say that H was the single best editor I ever worked with.

Upon learning of that he died on December 31, the information was a rude awakening. The distinguished journalists of that era, now leaving us, are great losses!

His later success did not surprise me in the least because of the traits I could see that he had developed early in his career. H knew how to work with and motivate people and, more importantly, how to correct them. His view of journalistic ethics was spot-on then, just as it continued to be throughout his career.

H had a knack of bringing out the best in the journalists on his staff, whether it was a project or a simple story. He was always there, helpful and willing to go the extra mile to make sure a story was accurate and an editorial was relevant and truthful and not misleading or ambiguous.

For H, each edition of our paper was an important product and was vital in keeping his fellow students up-to-date with the activities throughout the College. His legacy at the Flat Hat lasted for many years and his contributions to the field of journalism nationally were significant. I’m glad I had the opportunity to work with him — if just for one year.