A legend in his own time, Jim Angell, 64, passed away Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, at Davis Hospice Center in Cheyenne after a bout with cancer.
Jim and his wife, Mary Angell, fashioned and curated the Wyoming News Exchange, a service for Wyoming newspapers to get news stories disseminated statewide.
According to Angell’s obituary in the Cowboy State Daily, he was born in Spokane, Wash., on May 29, 1958.
He worked for the Associated Press from 1985-1998 before becoming the executive director of the Wyoming Press Association in 1998. Previous to working for the Associated Press, Angell worked for local newspapers in Washington and Oregon.
As stated in his obituary, “A stalwart champion of government transparency, he lobbied the legislature to ensure open government and educated reporters and elected officials on Wyoming’s open meetings and public records law. In 2019, he received from the WPA the Milton Chilcott Award for his ‘extraordinary efforts to defend access to public information.’”
Angell retired from the Wyoming Press Association in 2018.
In 2019, he helped to establish the Cowboy State Daily, a statewide news service dedicated to Wyomingites, where he served as their managing editor.
Angell touched the lives of many journalists in Wyoming and abroad during his tenure in journalism. He donned a carefree attitude and could always brighten up a room with his anecdotes.
“Known for his integrity, Angell was dedicated to the Wyoming news industry and very fond of the people across the state who are part of it. His unfailing sense of humor, carefree approach toward life and love of fun made him many friends,” read Angell’s obituary. “As WPA director, Angell planned conventions for the state’s newspaper people. He not only scheduled workshops and social functions but also wrapped up each convention by leading a jam session with his fellow journalists, encouraging everyone to sing along until late into the night.”
There were a couple of occasions where Angell stopped by the Telegram office to use our internet and provide us with some comic relief and top-notch advice on journalistic practices.
When I started my career in journalism, I was fresh out of a decade-long law enforcement career with minimal journalism experience. I was learning as I went and sought advice from anyone in the news industry who could help.
In comes Jim. A smile on his face and his laptop in hand.
“Can I use your internet?” he asked with a smile.
Not knowing him at the time, I looked around the office for a look of approval or otherwise.
“Of course,” one of the others said.
Angell headed to the basement to work, and I began my inquiry into who he was.
Our publisher, Rob Mortimore, told me he is Jim Angell with the Wyoming News Exchange, and I should introduce myself.
I walked downstairs and introduced myself. He asked about me, and where I came from, so I orated the story of my venture from law enforcement to journalism; the rest is history. That introduction would make one of the most significant impacts on my life and career.
We sat downstairs and talked about law enforcement, the justice system, journalism in general and anything else we thought of at the time, including some jokes. I have never spoken with anyone as easy to talk with as Angell.
He was always happy to take my phone calls and advise me on what I should put in a story, what I should not, and the ethical explanation behind why I should or should not.
I was blessed to have such a great friend who was always happy to help. I have yet to meet someone with such deep love and care for the news as Angell.
One may wonder why “cheers” is accentuated in the heading of this story.
Angell always signed off his emails with “Cheers, Jim.”
Now, in this time of sorrow and mourning, I raise my glass to you, Angell.