By: The Associated Press
(AP) Joe Kieta, editor of the Observer-Dispatch of Utica, N.Y., since June 2008, has been named executive editor of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, effective Aug. 23.
The native of Solon, Ohio, will replace Ben Holden, who left to head the Reynolds National Center for Courts and Media at the University of Nevada-Reno.
The Utica paper is owned by GateHouse Media. Before going there, Kieta, 38, was editor of California’s Merced Sun-Star, which, like the Columbus paper is owned by The McClatchy Co.
While at the Sun-Star, Kieta initiated and edited an investigation that led to a district attorney’s resignation. The series won the national Associated Press Managing Editors Association Public Service Award in 2006.
That’s the kind of investigative journalism newspapers must continue to pursue, Kieta said. He said newspapers today also must follow all the avenues through which they can interact with readers, particularly social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
“The way I look at it right now, it isn’t just the newspaper anymore,” he said. “We are a news and information company, with multiple ways we distribute our product. In the old days, what you wanted to do in the newspaper is hold up a mirror to the community so that they could see the reflection in it. Now it isn’t just a mirror anymore. It’s more like a window.”
He said newspapers can’t afford to be boring. “The one thing I preach is that compelling is not an option,” he said.
Previously, Kieta was managing editor for visuals at the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., presentation editor of The Tribune in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and local news editor of The Daily Telegram in Adrian, Mich.
He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toledo. He and wife, Sandra, have three children, daughters Tatiana, 15 and Karissa, 12, and son Ethan, 3.