by Rick Emonds
Upward of 1,400 digital journalists are expected in Atlanta this week for the annual Online News Association conference. That’s fairly close to the number of daily American newspapers, at last count roughly 1,380.
With digital transformation the announced top priority for newspaper companies ranging in size from Gannett to community publishers, you would think by now many would have given the editorial reins to a digital specialist. But top editors with a strong digital background remain rare.
With some rudimentary (and I am sure incomplete) checking, I could only turn up a half dozen or so.
I had noted with interest the announcement a month ago that Neil Budde, top Yahoo news editor in the mid 2000s, had been chosen the new executive editor of Gannett’s Louisville Courier-Journal. I wondered — might Budde be the first at a mid-sized or larger paper?
Not quite, but he is certainly among the pioneers. Another is USA Today’s Editor-in-Chief David Calloway, who had a decade running editorial at Marketwatch and came to Gannett’s national daily in June 2012 shortly after Marketwatch founder and CEO Larry Kramer became USA Today’s publisher.
Without fanfare, Advance has appointed two top editors this year with digital backgrounds to lead newsrooms where the company is making digital the top priority and print frequency has been reduced. Michelle Holmes, a 2012 Knight fellow at Stanford and briefly director of business development for Ustream TV in San Francisco, was named vice-president of content in late April for Advance’s Alabama newspapers and websites…