Star Tribune Media Co. has appointed Rene Sanchez as its new editor and senior vice president, effective Friday, Oct. 11, 2013. Sanchez, formerly Star Tribune’s managing editor, replaces Nancy Barnes, who has accepted a position as editor and executive vice president of The Houston Chronicle.
In his new position, Sanchez will lead Minnesota’s largest newsgathering and reporting operation, with 265 full-time journalists. He will oversee all aspects of Star Tribune news and feature content across all platforms—including the 7th-largest Sunday and 12th-largest daily newspaper in the U.S., the most-visited Minnesota website, more than a dozen digital platforms, and 100+ social media channels.
Sanchez’s promotion underscores Star Tribune’s firm commitment to deeply reported local stories, an area where he has played a crucial role for the organization since joining as a writer in 2004. Nine months later, he was named Sunday editor, with responsibility for the Star Tribune’s most important print edition, before subsequent promotions to deputy managing editor and to managing editor in January 2008. At Star Tribune, he has overseen the metro, business and sports departments as well as special projects and investigative work. Sanchez was a key force behind much of Star Tribune’s coverage of the collapse of the I-35W bridge and other major local news stories. He also helped lead the investigative project on local home daycare facilities that earned the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. As managing editor, he has also been deeply involved in the company’s digital strategy and structure.
“For nearly 10 years, Rene has been a dynamic journalist and respected leader in our newsroom,” said Mike Klingensmith, publisher and CEO of Star Tribune. “Through his superior reporting and editing, mentoring, and leadership, Rene has earned the loyalty and respect of the entire Star Tribune operation. We are extremely fortunate to have a journalist of his caliber to lead our newsroom.”
Sanchez, a New Orleans native, earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University and began his journalism career at The Times-Picayune, working first as an agate clerk and prep sportswriter and then as a police and general assignment reporter, where his affinity and talent for local news emerged. From there, he went on to a 17-year career as a reporter with The Washington Post, where he rose from covering the night crime beat and city issues to the Post’s national staff, covering education and a range of national news. In his last six years there, he was stationed in Post’s bureau in Los Angeles, where he wrote about California and the West, including the rise of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the tragic Columbine massacre.
“It will be tough to replace Nancy Barnes—she is an exceptional editor. But I am very excited by this challenge and honored to have it,’’ Sanchez said. “I’m fortunate to have a newsroom filled with great journalists who are committed to doing excellent work for our readers. Our coverage of the Minneapolis–St. Paul metro area, of Minnesota and of the region is strong, and we will strive to make it even stronger.”