Journalist Recalls Editor’s Memorable Halloween Costume

Anne Carothers-Kay spent most of her career at the Des Moines Register

Des Moines Register Metro columnist Daniel P. Finney posted a sweet piece this week about two former colleagues both recently claimed by cancer. Much has been written posthumously about one of these folks, Steve Buttry, and not so much about the other, Anne Carothers-Kay (pictured).

Carothers-Kay, a veteran Iowa journalist, passed away Feb. 18 at age 59. She had been since 2012 the managing editor of monthly trade magazine The Business Record. From Finney’s column:

My friend Jason Clayworth, the great Register investigative reporter, tells a wonderful story about Carothers-Kay, his former editor.

When Jason was a young reporter fresh from Drake University, Anne pruned flowery turns of phrase from his copy. Jason, in good humor, called his boss “the fun cutter.”

One year on Halloween, Anne dressed as the grim reaper. She pasted on words and phrases she had cut from Jason’s stories. The colleagues laughed, and that special bond between editor and reporter was forged.

Imagine the social-media mileage a photo of that costume could have received! A memorial service will be held for Carothers-Kay in Des Moines tomorrow.

Separately, Business Record publisher Chris Conetzkey recalls her letter of introduction when she joined the publication. In between the Register and that job, Carothers-Kay had scrambled for work at places like Patch. Here’s part of what she wrote:

The truth is, life knocked my ideas about my career out of my head with a couple of two-by-four events in the past few years. I lost my husband of 28 years, Jim Kay, a fellow journalist who was a writer, producer and director for Iowa Public Television. Then I lost my job and became one of far too many print journalism refugees.

Those crises were great blessings, actually. They forced me to look at what’s important to me: making a difference, making connections, having a community and learning, always learning.


Photo via: Twitter