January 12, 2018

McClatchy announced Friday a change in the company's leadership structure with the goal of speeding up newsroom innovation.

Starting in the Carolinas and California, McClatchy is adding two regional editor positions that can help the newsrooms in those areas transform together instead of one by one. (Disclosure: McClatchy is one of Poynter's funders.)

Robyn Tomlin, Dallas Morning News' managing editor, will be the regional editor for the Carolinas. Lauren Gustus, executive editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, will be the regional editor for McClatchy's newsrooms in California and Boise, Idaho. 

John Drescher, executive editor of the News and Observer, will be Opinion and Solutions Editor in Raleigh. Sacramento Bee executive editor Joyce Terhaar is leaving the company.

“Our current system, with each newsroom operating separately from the others, discourages cooperation in favor of competition and duplication,” the company said, according to the News and Observer. “By working together, we will marshal all the resources and talents and expertise from each region, and across the company, to produce local journalism that is ever more essential to the communities we serve.”

Poynter's Rick Edmonds wrote last year about McClatchy's "reinvention team," which has focused on helping McClatchy's 30 local newsrooms. Those newsrooms, like many others across the industry, still saw cuts last year and have continuously had trouble becoming profitable as the business model and audience shifts to digital.

Taking a state-wide or regional approach isn't unprecedented for local news, Edmonds said. We've seen similar efforts to consolidate resources from Advance Digital in places including Alabama and Michigan

Tim Grieve, McClatchy's vice president of news, tweeted late last year about some of the results of the company's push toward innovation. 

Tomlin and Gustus will start their new jobs in February. The company will continue adding regional editors throughout the year. 

A few other job moves that came with the news: Modesto Bee editor Joe Kieta will become the editor of the Fresno Bee. Colleen McCain Nelson, the Kansas City Star's editorial page editor, will become McClatchy's opinion editor. 

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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