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Hal Foster, H5 Specialist Media Trainer and Former Stars & Stripes Senior Editor, Dies at 75

15 Jun 2020

June 15, 2020 (BUCHAREST, ROMANIA): H5 Strategies is saddened by the death of our dear colleague and friend, Hal F. Foster, Jr., who worked as our specialist media trainer. Over more than 50 years working in journalism, Hal was a reporter and editor at the Los Angeles Times and other top news organizations, a journalism professor and trainer, and a media consultant.

The Stars & Stripes published an obituary for Hal earlier this morning, which can be read here.

The highlights of Hal’s journalism career included working as an editor at one of the United States’ top publications — the LA Times — and as executive editor of Pacific Stars & Stripes, the daily newspaper for American military and embassy people in Asia. He also wrote about the Ukraine war in 2014 for USA Today.

While most of his work was for newspapers or online publications, he also did English-language news voiceover work for Asahi Television in Japan and Kazakh Television. His voiceover work included doing the English-language versions of documentary films produced in other languages.

Hal started as a journalist while in his teens, working as a photographer, reporter and copy editor at the Omaha World-Herald while attending the University of Nebraska’s journalism program.

He went on to work at the Portland Oregonian, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Pacific Stars & Stripes, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the Panama City News Herald, and Asahi Evening News in Tokyo. He also edited part-time for the Houston Chronicle while teaching journalism at Sam Houston State University.

A number of his journalism jobs were in management. He was assistant city editor and weekend city editor at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, executive editor of Pacific Stars & Stripes and the Panama City News Herald, and assistant managing editor of Asahi Evening News, the English-language arm of Asahi Shimbun, the world’s second-largest daily newspaper.

Big stories he covered as a writer or editor included the Mount St. Helen’s eruptions, the Soviet shootdown of the Korean airliner KAL 007, the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, the two Northridge earthquakes in Los Angeles, the Kobe earthquake in Japan, the Aum Shinrikyo cult’s gas attack on the Tokyo subway system, and the Ukraine war.

Hal continued to write and edit after obtaining a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in 1998 and beginning a journalism teaching career.

He did freelance writing and editing on topics as diverse as a world-class Japanese sculptor, the entertainment business, technology, medicine, and snow leopards and wild horses in Kazakhstan.

He was editor of the English-language edition of a weekly business publication in Kazakhstan and founding editor of a weekly English-language newspaper in Krakow, Poland. And he wrote a column for the English-language edition of Tengrinews, Kazakhstan’s most popular news portal.

In addition, Hal trained journalists in the United States, Japan, Ukraine, Poland, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in story-telling, writing, editing and other subjects.

Altogether, his work took him to dozens of countries in Europe, Asia and the former Soviet Union.

He was a member of the National Press Photographers Association, the American Copy Editors Society, and the Editorial Freelancers Association.

He was also the founder and executive director of Global Free Press Associates, a consultancy offering best-in-class journalism training and media consulting, which worked to promote press freedom and counter disinformation worldwide.

Early in his career, Hal was an Air Force officer, following in the footsteps of his father, a 30-year officer in the Strategic Air Command.

A colorful man full of life, Hal’s hobbies included jazz singing, lifting weights and playing basketball. While in Japan, he acted in television dramas and movies. Fittingly because of his military background, he played General Douglas MacArthur four times.


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