Editing experience

For 38 years, I was a writer, a reporter, and I didn’t expect to ever do anything but that. But after becoming an editor, I realized this is what I’d been training for the past 20 years.

As a senior writer at the Wichita Eagle, I regularly mentored younger reporters, helping them polish stories and genereate ideas. I can even think back to my first job at age 17, building the sports agate page, when I got to make my first news decisions about what went in after the local high school sports and professional box scores. If you make the wrong decisions there, sports readers let you know.

I honed decision-making skills as Regional Director on the national board of the Society of Professional Journalists, where I helped put together annual conferences, as well as helped start chapters in St. Louis and Des Moines.

As readers migrated to the web, I taught myself online storytelling skills, including video production and inventive ways of using social media to report news. I created my own web presentations, deciding how to tell stories, whether in words, slide shows or video, simply because there weren’t editors versed in multiple platforms.

Then in 2013, Rob Curley asked me to join his leadership team at the Orange County Register. I obtained what felt like years of editing experience in just a couple of years, including building my own teams and even launching a newspaper from scratch.

I took over the office in San Clemente, where you can walk out the front door and see the ocean. There, I ran daily operations for the South County bureau of the Orange County Register and oversaw production of six community weekly newspapers. I managed a team of a dozen talented journalists, mostly young passionate reporters.

I was then given the responsibility to lead the next growth opportunity of Freedom Communications, which attempted a foray into the Los Angeles market. I was named editor of the Los Angeles Register. I built the team that would launch a newspaper in 2014. I moved from Huntington Beach in Orange County to downtown L.A.

The Los Angeles Register last five months, because of a lack of capital, not quality of product.

Our team was so efficient, covering a county of 10 million people with a staff of 40, that when the office closed I was offered the job of Assistant Managing Editor of Local News for the Orange County Register.

We have continued to produce quality sections with interesting local stories and visually interesting layouts. Rob Curley also put me in charge of two key blogs, the Blotter crime blog and the aptly named Blog, in a redesign of the web site for ocregister.com. The blogs made an impact on web traffic for the Register from the first day’s launch.

Now, I can’t imagine not being an editor, mentoring young journalists and putting together interesting sections that make readers want to turn pages, as well as overseeing our online operation for local news.

Examples:

Orange County Register Local Sections

This cover story dealt with the rise in popularity of archery among young people because of movies such as "The Hunger Games"

Local cover for Feb. 3, 2015 featuring a tattoo artist famous from reality TV who had returned to open a shop in his hometown of Fullerton, CA

Los Angeles Register

Community newspapers

The Los Angeles Register's breaking news coverage of a main pipe burst that flood the UCLA campus

A cover story investigating the controversy around Mello Roos, a residential tax in Southern California

This cover story explored the growing use of heroin by high school students in the affluent community of Laguna Beach.

A cover story about a local high-end auction house in Laguna Niguel selling history sports memorabilia.