By: Bill Bergstrom, AP Business Writer
(AP) Phillip Dixon, The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s managing editor, is stepping down this month, less than six months after taking the post.
Walker Lundy, who became editor of the Inquirer in November, said Tuesday he had hoped the 50-year-old Dixon would remain as part of his team.
“I tried to talk him out of it. After a couple of conversations it became clear his heart was elsewhere,” Lundy said.
Dixon, the No. 2 person in the newsroom, told the staff of his decision on Monday, saying, “I want time to open my mind and heart to other ways to be of service,” the newspaper reported.
He said he had no immediate plans, though he was interested in teaching journalism.
Dixon started working at the Inquirer in 1979 as a reporter, and was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for its coverage of the Three Mile Island nuclear accident.
He left the Inquirer in 1986, when he went to work at the Los Angeles Times, where he was assistant metropolitan editor for three years. In 1989, he joined The Washington Post, where he was assistant city editor and city editor.
He returned to the Inquirer in 1995, and served as assistant features editor, assistant managing editor, and deputy managing editor.
Dixon replaced William “Butch” Ward as managing editor after Ward accepted a buyout package after 20 years at the Knight Ridder-owned newspaper. His announcement came shortly after Knight Ridder said it was cutting 1,700 jobs companywide.
Lundy, formerly editor of Knight Ridder’s Saint Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press, became editor Nov. 26 after the resignation of Robert J. Rosenthal.
“I think people were saddened by Phillip’s decision; the staff has been through quite a firestorm in the past year,” said Lundy. He said he would search both “inside and outside” for a successor.