Heckel succeeds Bob Ashley, who left Jan. 3 to become editor of the Herald-Sun of Durham, N.C. Ashley had been editor of the Messenger-Inquirer since 1994.
"Dan has a proven track record of journalism excellence and commitment to the community," Publisher Bob Morris said. "He was a natural choice to replace longtime Editor Bob Ashley, and Dan has the requisite skills to meet the challenges of serving the needs of the changing community through the newspaper."
Heckel, 40, becomes the sixth editor in the newspaper's 76-year history.
He began his career at the Messenger-Inquirer in 1986 after graduating from Murray State University. In January 1998 he became editorial-page editor, and in May 2001 he became city editor, directing a staff of 12 in gathering news and features for the paper.
By: (AP) Dan Heckel, for four years city editor of the Messenger-Inquirer in Owensboro and a 19-year newsroom veteran, has been named editor of newspaper.