William Schulz, the longtime Executive Editor and head of the Washington office of Reader’s Digest and a contributor to the modern conservative movement, passed away on July 22, 2019.
Bill Schulz came to Washington at a time when there were few self-identified conservatives in Washington, D.C. After dropping out of Antioch College he began his writing career working for conservative radio broadcaster Fulton Lewis Jr., the Rush Limbaugh of that day.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s two publications for the just-starting conservative movement were William F. Buckley, Jr.’s National Review in New York, an intellectual/political journal for people who called themselves “conservatives,” and Frank Hanigan’s Human Events, a weekly Washington newsletter on politics in the Nation’s Capital.
In 1957, M. Stanton “Stan” Evans became Managing Editor of Human Events and started his career of teaching conservative students. The first Human Events journalism class started in the fall of 1957, and consisted of three people: Bill Schulz, Doug Caddy, (later Executive Director of Young Americans for Freedom) and David Franke, (later Senior Editor of Arlington House/Conservative Book Club).
In 1960, Schulz attended the gathering of young conservatives at Bill Buckley’s Connecticut home that produced the Sharon Statement, an early articulation of conservative political principles and the foundation of Young Americans for Freedom.
During this period — and under the mentorship of William F. Buckley, Jr. and M. Stanton Evans — Bill Schulz helped shape the nation’s nascent conservative movement. He collaborated with the editors of Human Events to articulate and advance conservative political causes and was active in Young Americans for Freedom.
In the late 1960s, Schulz joined the Washington office of Reader’s Digest, which, except for a one-year stint at the magazine’s headquarters in the early 1970s, would be his professional home for the next several decades. He mentored hundreds of writers and journalists during his Digest career.
Beyond mentoring writers and thinkers of today’s modern conservative movement, Mr. Schulz’s provided his writing and editorial focus at Reader’s Digest as executive editor and head of the Washington office.
After retiring from the Reader’s Digest in 2003, he continued to write and in 2005 he joined NBC newsman Ken Bode as the first ombudsmen for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the organization that oversees public radio and television.