Jim Frederick remembered

jim-frederick-remembered
Jim Frederick. (BBC)
Tweet Share on Facebook Share on Tumblr Print

Encomiums poured in over the weekend in honor of Jim Frederick, a prominent author and former high-ranking editor at Time who died suddenly last Thursday at the age of 42.

"Jim's storied career at TIME, and before that at Money, was a reflection of his great gifts, his energy and his lively curiosity," Time managing editor Nancy Gibbs wrote in a Friday memo to the magazine's staff.

"All of us who got to work with Jim have wonderful memories of his collegial style, rigorous standards and profound commitment to the very best of TIME's values," the memo continued.

"He always put the reader first; he was tireless in his ambition to expand the reach of our journalism, across all borders, all boundaries, all platforms. He reminded the teams he was leading that they were part of something important, and pushed people to test their assumptions, build new skills, continually reinvent themselves; he loved identifying and promoting young talent. That spirit of adventure never flagged."

MORE ON CAPITAL

ADVERTISEMENT

During his decade-long career at Time, Frederick served as Tokyo bureau chief, London-based senior editor, managing editor of time.com and editor of Time International, among other positions. Before joining Time in 2002 he worked at Money, a sister title within the Time Inc. stable. He was the author of Black Hearts: One Platoon’s Descent Into Madness in Iraq’s Triangle of Death, a celebrated 2010 book that Gibbs described as a "classic of war reporting and non-fiction narrative."

"Even more than his prodigious abilities as a reporter, a writer and an editor, Jim had an enormous talent for friendship, which is why so many people, in so many places, are bereft today," Time's Bryan Walsh wrote Saturday on the magazine's website, calling Frederick "a born connector, the life of the party in all the best ways. If any friend or colleague passed through the city Jim was living in—London, Tokyo, New York—it was an occasion to be celebrated. He made sure it was big, and he made sure it was fun."

Frederick was living in San Francisco with his wife, Charlotte Greensit, a fellow Time veteran with whom he had just launched a digital strategy and media consulting firm called Hybrid Vigor Media.

New York Observer editor-in-chief Ken Kurson, a friend of Frederick's who'd worked with him at Money, reported Friday that the cause of death was a heart attack.

"This was a guy with more vitality than anyone, a lover of life, a total stud," Kurson wrote. "A heart attack in San Francisco. At 42. That’s just…not fair. It’s not right."

Other friends, former colleagues and journalists took to social media to express their shock and sadness.

On Twitter, Wired writer Brendan L. Koerner called Frederick a "fantastic writer and a magnanimous soul. How can this be?"

"Jim not only gave me my first job in New York but in turn allowed me to be part of one of the most talented magazine staffs of its time," Money alumnus Sridhar Pappu wrote on Facebook. "He was a superb editor, a great writer and reporter and just a really, really great guy."

Frederick's own Facebook wall was likewise filled with eulogies.

"So difficult to imagine that this handsome, strapping, intelligent, enthusiastic and witty young man is gone," wrote Syndi Becker, another member of the Time Inc. family, while a high school friend who said he hadn't seen Frederick in 25 years offered the following:

"He was probably the most intelligent, kindest person I have ever met. I am now working in his hometown so I have thought about him often over the last few years. I know I will continue to think about him for years to come."