FPI / April 16, 2020
Ted Agres, a veteran journalist writer who played a pioneering role in the launch of The Washington Times and Free Press Foundation, died Tuesday in Baltimore after suffering a heart attack. He was 70.
Mr. Agres served as deputy managing editor and led an award-winning investigative team at The Times. The relatively conservative newspaper was launched in opposition to the liberal Washington Post in 1982, one year after the Washington Star ceased operations early in the first term of President Ronald Reagan.
Free Press Foundation was “established to revive and sustain the American Free Press.”
“In a newsroom filled with big personalities, it was easy to overlook the soft-spoken, efficient Mr. Agres, but former investigative reporter Jerry Seper said his onetime boss was not afraid to go toe-to-toe behind the scenes with the top brass when it counted,” wrote Valerie Richardson for The Washington Times.
“He was a great and loyal friend for more than 30 years. I will miss him,” said Mr. Seper, who joined the Times in 1985 and won honors for his exclusives on the Whitewater scandal involving Bill and Hillary Clinton. “Ted’s office was always open and I took advantage of that many times. He was a good listener, a great editor and someone on whom you could always depend.”
Former managing editor Fran Coombs called Mr. Agres “the quiet heart of The Washington Times . . . . Through a series of more flamboyant and noisier editors, he steered a steady course, always offering wise counsel — and inevitably the right answer,” Mr. Coombs said.
“Ted’s office was an oasis of calm in an often turbulent newsroom,” recalled Robert Morton, another former Times editor who now heads Free Press Foundation and edits FreePressers.com. “Having worked with Ted in media ventures since the late 1970s, I always noticed he had a knack for fixing complex issues with no interest in getting credit. And this was in Washington.”
Theodore Joel Agres was born July 6, 1949, in Chicago. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in South Asian Studies in 1971 from the University of Chicago and his MBA from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in 2000.
He worked for News World Communications in New York City before joining a small team of editors and media specialists that helped launch The Washington Times. After leaving the Times in 2010, he became a senior editor of the Health Affairs journal in Bethesda.
“After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, he helped establish an international news cooperative for newspapers in Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary,” said his biography at the Free Press Foundation, where he served on its advisory board. “He also established and supervised professional training programs for foreign editors and journalists working with the State Department and private foundations.”
His hundreds of articles on life sciences, biotech, medical issues and national security appeared in publications such as Scientific American Worldview, Nature, The Scientist, R&D Magazine, and Insight.
He met the former Maria Caputi, at a yoga class he taught in Chicago after finishing college. They were married for 37 years and have two sons, Jason and Michael.