New York Times political reporter dies suddenly

Blake Hounshell speaks onstage during the 2021 Concordia Annual Summit at Sheraton New York on 21 September 2021 in New York City (Getty Images)
Blake Hounshell speaks onstage during the 2021 Concordia Annual Summit at Sheraton New York on 21 September 2021 in New York City (Getty Images)

Influential New York Times (NYT) political journalist Blake Hounshell has died, his family confirmed on Tuesday. He was 44.

Police in Washington are investigating the death as a suicide after identifying the body.

Hounshell’s family said in a statement that he died “after a long and courageous battle with depression”.

Hounshell joined the NYT in October 2021 where he oversaw the popular “On Politics” newsletter. Prior to this, he had spent eight years at the Politico and had been the managing editor at Foreign Policy.

“Blake was a dedicated journalist who quickly distinguished himself as our lead politics newsletter writer and a gifted observer of our country’s political scene,” NYT executive editor Joe Kahn and managing editor Carolyn Ryan said in a note to the staff.

“He became an indispensable and always insightful voice in the report during a busy election cycle,” they added. “Blake was devoted to his family and a friend of many on our politics and Washington teams, who have worked alongside him for many years.

“We’ve just lost a valuable colleague and this is a heartbreaking loss for our team.”

Raised in Pittsburgh and a graduate of Yale University, Hounshell began working in journalism after travelling to Cairo to study Arabic. He joined Foreign Policy magazine in 2006 and returned to Cairo in February 2011 to cover the Arab uprisings.

The NYT obit mentioned that in 2011 he was a finalist for the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists, given by the Wallace House Center for Journalists at the University of Michigan, for his reporting on the Arab Spring uprisings of the early 2010s.

NYT politics editor David Halbfinger said that Hounshell was endowed with “the kind of wide-ranging intellect that made it possible for him to explain anything to anyone”.

There was an outpouring of grief and shock from his former and current colleagues and fellow journalists worldwide.

“I am so shocked and so sad to hear about the tragic death of Blake Hounshell (@NYTBlake @blakehounshell.) I met him in Cairo when I was 22, on the day I got my very first newspaper job. I was excited when he joined The Times and wish I’d spent more time hanging out with him here,” NYT reporter Liam Stack tweeted.

“The @politico newsroom is in anguish. Blake Hounshell had a dazzling mind, full of original insights about a vast array of subjects,” John F Harris, a founding editor of Politico, wrote on Twitter. “He was a deeply idealistic and curious man with an exhilarating ability to perceive both patterns and contradictions in the news.”

MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes tweeted that Hounshell was “always a smart, curious, very very kind guy. Just devastating news”.

Mary Louise Kelly, host of NPR’s “All Things Considered” wrote: “Struck by the outpouring of praise & grief tonight for ⁦@blakehounshell⁩. Wish we could have told him all this last week, wish he could have heard it. So many among us are fighting mighty battles, and people walk right by. Not unkindly, just unaware.”

Hounshell is survived by his wife, Sandy, and two children.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress, or are struggling to cope, you can speak to the Samaritans, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to to find a helpline near you.