Joel Connelly


Portrait by Andrew Villeneuve

Joel Connelly is retired (at last) after spending nearly forty-seven years writing for The Seattle Post Intelligencer and its online successor,, both owned by Hearst. 

Connelly has reported on multiple presidential campaigns and from many national political conventions. During his career at the P-I, he interviewed Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and George H.W. Bush. He has covered Canada from Trudeau to Trudeau, written about the fiscal meltdown of the nuclear energy obsessed WPPSS consortium (pronounced Whoops) and public lands battles dating back to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

He has coauthored a trio of books:

  • on conservation and former four-term Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus;
  • evolution of the University of Notre Dame under visionary President Father Hesburgh;
  • and the season that saved the Seattle Mariners.

Connelly’s coverage of WPPSS was runner-up for a Pulitzer Prize. The Society of Professional Journalists presented him with a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to journalism. He has won two “Best in the West” medallions plus achievement awards from the Idaho Conservation League, Alaska Wilderness League, and the Washington Environmental Council. The most telling honor, however, came at New York news conference when Governor Mario Cuomo told Connelly: “I don’t recognize you. You don’t work here. But you think like people who do.”

Connelly is a graduate of Notre Dame University, although tired of endless showings of Rudy during the novel coronavirus pandemic. He holds a masters degree from the University of Washington. As a college student, he worked on the anti-war campaigns of Senators McCarthy and McGovern. A widower, Connelly divides time between Seattle home and family cabin on Whidbey Island.  He is conservationist, dating back to when his six-year-old legs climbed Heliotrope Ridge on Mount Baker.

He enjoys rafting rivers and summiting major peaks; he has been to 19,000 feet on the summit crater of Kilimanjaro as well as in the Himalayas. He is also fond of watching gray whales at Laguna San Ignacio in Baja. Nowadays, Connelly prefers backcountry cabins to tents. His favorite quote, from St. Thomas More, is: “Silence gives consent.”