WASHINGTON (AP) _ Lee Stinnett, 59, will retire July 1 after 15 years as executive director of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

``He has made innumerable contributions to our craft, especially in the areas of diversifying our newsrooms, studying readership and confronting challenges to freedom of the press,'' said ASNE President Edward Seaton, editor-in-chief of The Manhattan (Kan.) Mercury.

Stinnett is only the third executive director in the 76-year history of the society, which has 875 members from the United States, Canada and throughout the Americas.