Christopher Shea was a Washington Post editor who specialized in assigning and editing news essays and analysis for the Outlook section in print and PostEverything section online. He was known for his wide-ranging interests and his keen eye for compelling stories. He died on July 24, 2023, at a hospital in Washington. He was 53 years old.
The Suicide of Christopher Shea
According to his sister, Nancy O’Driscoll, Christopher Shea suffered from depression and died by suicide. She said he had been struggling with his mental health for a long time and had sought professional help. She also said he was a loving brother, son, uncle, and friend who cared deeply about his family and colleagues.
Shea’s death shocked and saddened many people who knew him personally or professionally. His colleagues at the Washington Post described him as a brilliant editor, a generous mentor, and a kind person. His writers praised him for his insightful feedback, his supportive guidance, and his creative vision. His readers appreciated him for his eclectic and engaging selection of topics and perspectives.
The Career of Christopher Shea
Christopher Shea began his career as a journalist in the late 1980s, working as a reporter and editor for various publications, including the Boston Globe, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the New Republic, and Slate. He joined the Washington Post in 2014 as an editor for the Outlook section, where he oversaw the production of weekly essays on current affairs, culture, science, history, and more. He also launched and edited the PostEverything section online, which featured opinion pieces from a diverse range of voices and viewpoints.
Shea had a broad and deep knowledge of many fields and disciplines. He was especially interested in politics, social science, and popular culture. He assigned and edited hundreds of pieces that reflected his voracious consumption of these subjects. Some of the topics he covered included the psychology of conspiracy theories, the history of impeachment, the ethics of gene editing, the impact of social media on democracy, the evolution of comedy, and the future of work.
Shea also wrote occasionally for the Washington Post and other outlets. He authored several book reviews, essays, and articles on various topics that intrigued him. He also contributed to several books as an editor or co-author, such as The Moral Authority of Nature (2003), The Mind (2005), and In Character: Actors Acting (2006).
The Legacy of Christopher Shea
Christopher Shea left behind a rich and impressive body of work that showcased his intellectual curiosity, his editorial skill, and his journalistic flair. He also left behind a large and loyal network of friends, colleagues, writers, and readers who admired him for his talent, his integrity, and his humanity. He will be remembered as a remarkable editor who shaped public discourse with his originality, rigor, and passion.