Departing ‘Indy Star’ M.E.: “It’s Gotten Harder” To Do Good Work

By: Joe Strupp

Pam Fine, who is leaving her post as managing editor of The Indianapolis Star to teach at the University of Kansas, said she has heard from numerous other editors who say they want to make a similar move.

“I’ve gotten dozens and dozens of notes, which I really appreciate, including some from editors who seem to convey their own interest in possibly leaving their own newsrooms for academic jobs,” she told E&P. “That sentiment is the result of perhaps both a life stage, but also because these are very difficult times to manage.”

Fine, 50, said budget cuts and other industry-wide problems also played a role in her decision. “It is hard and it has gotten harder to do the kind of work here we want to do,” she explained. “The demands have grown and the staff hasn?t.”

Asked if she believed more top editors would take the jump to teaching and non-newsroom jobs, Fine said: “I don?t know. I think people are thinking about their careers and where they’d be happy. Most of my colleagues still want to be in their day to day.”

Fine announced that she would leave the Star in April to become Knight Chair for News, Leadership and Community at the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications in Lawrence, Kans.

She admits she could spend more years in a newsroom and still loves the job. But with the economy and the news business facing tough times, the teaching option had more appeal. She said she had begun working on a master’s degree in recent years with an eye toward eventually teaching. When the KU search committee contacted her, the change came sooner than expected.

“I had given thought to teaching, but I wasn’t anticipating it so soon,” said Fine, who spent four years at the Star and had previously served as managing editor of The Star Tribune in Minneapolis. “But I am leaving because I saw a very creative opportunity ahead.”

Still, Fine believes her new post will allow her to remain involved in newspapers and other media. “I don?t feel like I am leaving the biz, I will be in the thick of things,” she said. “That is the way I look at it. I hope I can bridge the two worlds.”

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