Monday, May 31, 2010

Change of the guard

Proving my hunch in February, the paper announced the retirement of Executive Editor Ben Hansen on Friday, and the weekend masthead shows Tim Wiederaenders as Editor (rather than Managing Editor) and Karen Despain as Managing Editor.

The quality of copy editing and proofing rose substantially when Karen started "filling in" during Ben's recovery from surgery in the spring, and drifted back down a bit since. Karen goes back a long way with the paper, and I hope her influence helps bring its 'local, local, local' mission back into focus and its use of English back up to snuff.

With Tim's elevation to the helm I expect that the editorials will be a little better thought-through and researched. Tim has less extreme reflexes politically, but I rather doubt that editorial positions will change much. I do hope that he will do more to reduce evidence of those political biases on the news pages.

I'm encouraged slightly to find the announcement of the new team in the business section rather than on page one. The big pics and double headline above the fold are still immodest, but it could be worse.


Jack Wilson said...

The impact Karen will bring remains unknown until she has a track record. My confidence in Tim as an editor is zero and for Ben it was negative. I have considered doing a letter to the Editors along the lines that people should not worry or complain about the numerous misspellings, bad grammar and headlines that do not match the stories since this is a funny paper, not a newspaper.

Steven Ayres said...

Karen has a pretty deep track record in the job, going back for years before the Hansen administration. I've worked on a couple of projects involving her and that's been all positive. What she's up against are the cultural changes that have come about since her previous tenure. The structure of the business has changed a lot as well. I'll keep an open mind. Will she want, and will the publisher allow, opinion columns under her byline, for example? Will the up-to-now poorly used pseudoblog online section be better employed? We'll see.

Jack Wilson said...

Today, the Courier published an article about the death of former County Attorney Billy Lee Hicks on page one, above the fold.
However, completely absent anywhere in this edition of the "paper" was any mention of the DUI arrest of Nelson Pierce, son of Senator pierce. You can find online coverage of that easily with a GOOGLE search.

Steven Ayres said...

Thanks for the tip, Jack!