Nieman News

Walter "Bill" Meek head shot

Bill Meek

Walter W. “Bill” Meek, a journalist, public relations leader and a Nieman Fellow in the class of 1967, died on March 25, 2024, at the age of 88.

A graduate of Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, he reported for the Bergen Evening Record in New Jersey early in his career before moving to Ft. Huachuca in Arizona with the U.S. Army in 1959.

After being discharged in 1961, he joined The Arizona Republic, where he won multiple awards for investigative journalism. In 1969, Meek was selected as the first Arizona Press Club’s “Newsman of the Year” in recognition of his many achievements at the Republic, where he covered political, environmental and health care issues.

That same year, he married his wife Barbara Shumway Meek, who was a fellow reporter at the Republic.

From 1920-72, Meek served as a special assistant to Mayor John Driggs in Phoenix from in before taking a job in Michigan as Lansing bureau chief for the Detroit Free Press. He returned to Phoenix in 1975 where he served as communications director for Arizona Public Service Company. He later started several public relations firms before joining the Arizona Utility Investors Association as the founding president and CEO.

With a keen interest in the environment, Meek served as president and chairman of the board of the Valley Forward Association, a nonprofit that focuses on environmental issues. He also became the volunteer president of the Arizona State Parks Foundation and served on the Arizona Heritage Alliance’s board of directors.

In addition to his wife Barbara, he is survived by numerous in-laws, nephews and nieces, and his friend Doug Frerichs.