This should be seen as confirmation that Ryan would, assuming the paper can survive, succeed his father as publisher of The Seattle Times.
Here's the e-mailed news release, which is not yet posted online:
May 19, 2009 Jill R. Mackie, Vice President-External Affairs
Ryan Blethen named Editorial Page Editor of The Seattle Times
Ryan Blethen has been named editorial page editor for The Seattle Times, the Northwest's largest daily newspaper. Blethen, 36, is named to the post vacated by the recent retirement of James Vesely and will assume his new responsibilities immediately.
As editorial page editor, Blethen will oversee the opinion voice of The Times and the editorial staff, and will continue to serve as a columnist. He also serves on the company's Strategic Operating Council. Blethen will continue as associate publisher of The Seattle Times with oversight of the company's Washington Affiliate Newspapers, the Yakima Herald-Republic, the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin and the Issaquah Press.
Blethen is a member of the fifth generation of Blethens which have owned The Seattle Times since 1896. He is the son of Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen.
"My generation of the Blethen family is extremely proud of the emergence of the fifth generation of family stewardship. They passionately embrace the journalistic and community service mission of our company," said Frank Blethen, Publisher and CEO of The Seattle Times. "We are pleased that Ryan has emerged as a respected journalist with a growing national reputation for his writing and reporting on the critical free press and democracy issues facing our nation. He has a deep understanding for the changes affecting our industry and the need to continue to keep independent journalism and localism as the foundation of our business."
Ryan Blethen has worked as a reporter or editor at newspapers in Yakima and Spokane, Washington, and Portland, Maine, and as associate editorial page editor and columnist of The Seattle Times. He serves on the board of directors for the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.
"We strive for the editorial voice of The Seattle Times and Seattletimes.com to connect meaningfully with readers and audiences on issues of importance to this very special place," said Ryan Blethen. "We are committed to providing a diversity of views on relevant, timely topics to our city, our region and our nation, and to engaging our audiences in new ways as we do so. This is a challenging time for newspapers, yet the role they play in local communities has never been more important."
Blethen is a member of the National Conference of Editorial Writers and the International Press Institute North American Committee's board. He is a graduate of Washington State University and attended journalism school at the University of Kansas.
The Seattle Times is a 112-year-old locally owned journalism and community service company. Founded in 1896 by Alden J. Blethen, The Seattle Times is a fourth- and fifth-generation family business. The family's flagship newspaper, The Seattle Times, is the largest daily newspaper in Washington state and serves the largest audience in the Northwest. The flagship Web site, Seattletimes.com, provides the greatest depth and breadth of content among the region's local news and information Web sites and enjoys the largest audience in the greater Seattle metropolitan area. Other Blethen-owned newspapers in Washington are the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Issaquah Press. The company also owns Blethen Maine Newspapers: The Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram; Kennebec Journal, in Augusta; Morning Sentinel, in Waterville; and Coastal Journal, in Bath. More company information, including links to the newspaper Web sites, is available at seattletimescompany.com.