Thursday, September 11, 2014

Editor swap: Hight out, Bean in at The Gazette

Posted By on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 5:37 PM

click to enlarge Joanna Bean, left, takes over for a departing Joe Hight.
  • Joanna Bean, left, takes over for a departing Joe Hight.

Today, the Gazette announced that Joe Hight, the editor who had led the paper's transition from ownership by Freedom Communications to Clarity Media in 2012, is returning to Oklahoma. Assuming the role will be longtime employee Joanna Bean, who previously worked as managing editor.

"We wanted our next newsroom leader to be one who understands this community and the vital historical role that The Gazette has had in Colorado Springs since its founding in 1872," said publisher Dan Steever. "We also wanted a leader who understands our readers, the changing consumer media habits and direction we're headed with The Gazette, gazette.com and our other brands."

The direction the paper's headed online has so far included a new paywall, which debuted recently to gripes on social media from people already irritated by the constant Google surveys. We emailed Bean for more on what her new role might mean and will update this post if we hear back. 

As for Hight, he oversaw the expansion of a newspaper suddenly flush with billionaire Philip Anschutz's cash, adding sections, pages and staff. In a separate piece, he says that one of his daughters moving back to Oklahoma, and his wife's desire to do the same, were strong motivators to depart.

"I'll never regret my time here or what we've accomplished since Clarity announced its purchase in 2012," Hight says. "I spent more than a month before coming here in studying The Gazette, reading about the history of the community and seeking to understand its demographics. I have to admit that I'm still learning.

"As for when we return to Oklahoma, I will enter another chapter of my life — literally — a family venture that will be announced soon. However, I'll always be connected to this community. Thank you for letting me be a part of it. I'll miss being a daily part of the newsroom and your lives."

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