College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Edith (Lillie) Bartley

Edith (Lillie) Bartley

By Adam Rich

Since graduating from Iowa State in 1961, Edith (Lillie) Bartley has seen the world of journalism evolve into a complex world of technology and information exchange. "A lot has changed," she says. "In my day, journalism was a small department, focused on news reporting. We were 'pre-mass communication' and 'pre-political correctness.'" For Bartley, journalism has always been a part of life.

Fresh out of college, Bartley's first job was at the University of Wisconsin Press in Madison, Wisc. While her husband Bob (ISU Journalism 1959) was earning a master's degree, Bartley worked in the business office and production department of the Press. One year later, she moved to Chicago and worked as the editor of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago employee magazine. Again, after one year she moved to Philadelphia where she assisted the managing editor of the women’s section in the Farm Journal. Bartley then moved to New York and worked for six years as the editor of the company magazine for the insurance empire started by C.V. Starr.

After a stay in Washington, D.C., Bartley moved back to New York City, where her husband had been appointed to run the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. Accompanying her husband on trips, Bartley traveled the world. She has been to Beijing and Shanghai, Mexico and Turkey, and to Stockholm in 1999 when Bob Mundell, a good friend of her husband Bob, received the Nobel Prize for Economics.

Bartley notes that her journalism education and training were "essential qualifications for the jobs I held in the nine years I worked." She remembers that the classes gave her confidence and the writing formats for her work at the Daily, and the actual experience of writing for publications prepared her for her career.

For journalism students, Bartley offers wise words of encouragement. She stresses the importance of learning a foreign language and reading a wide variety of publications from both sides of the political aisle. As nations continue to erupt in violence, she suggests being familiar with major religious beliefs and contemporary issues. She says, "Be skeptical of current intellectual fads. Pay attention to spelling. Start a rolodex young. Never be rude."