In the nearly six months that I have been here, I have come to deeply admire not only the quality of our staff, but also the thoughtfulness of our managers. I cherish the Tribune’s culture of collaboration and consensus. I also know that we managers need to improve communication, meetings, workflow, and decision-making so we can do job #1: helping our people do their best. I am pleased to announce today promotions and organizational adjustments to achieve this goal.
With the imminent retirement of Ross Ramsey – so well deserved, but bittersweet – we will retire the title of editor. Ross’s contributions as interim editor over the past year have been enormous, and we will be forever grateful for his leadership.
Ayan Mittra has a new title: senior editor. It will have three areas of work. He will ensure we publish a steady pace of hard-hitting corporate stories – including profiles, stories and explainers – and will coordinate with our editors and Zahira Torres, editor of our ProPublica investigative unit. -Texas Tribune, to carry out our most memorable, ambitious journalism. He will also oversee the regional expansion of our newsroom, which we will have more to say about shortly. Finally, Ayan remains a leader in newsroom collaborations with colleagues on the business side and with external stakeholders. I consult Ayan daily and cherish his decency and fairness. Ayan is the guardian of our standards and values, and he is empowered to make final coverage decisions when I am away.
Matthew Watkins, our News and Politics Editor, remains at the center of our operation, managing the news firehose. The strength of our current editing rig allows Matthew to deepen our reporting and elevate our storytelling, as he did with our Operation Lone Star coverage. Matthew handles the relationship between editors and reporters with great care. He has one of the most demanding jobs in the Tribune; his judgment and current intelligence are felt throughout our coverage. Matthew will continue to work closely with Ayan and I to ensure beat reporters get the time and support to pursue short to medium term projects.
Darla Cameron, who in four years revamped the way we report election results, led a redesign of our Salary Explorer and helped us become the state’s most essential resource for COVID-19 data, is promoted to editor for visual journalism, overseeing photo, video and data visuals. Darla will lead the systems, collaborations and process improvements we need to move projects forward. It will help us up our game on photo essays, short documentaries, infographics, data tools and much more. Pu Ying Huang and Todd Wiseman will report to Darla, as will Chris Essig. Darla will also work closely with our product, engineering and design colleagues.
Chris Essig has been promoted to Data Visual Editor. His deep technical background as a newsroom developer positions him well to take our infographics, databases and data reports to the next level. Chris is an empathetic leader and superb editor whose work on our COVID-19 case tracker and revamped Salary Explorer shows how data can drive our journalism. Carla Astudillo, Mandi Cai, Ren Larson and Data Visual Fellows will report to Chris.
Todd Wiseman has a new title: editor, video and multimedia. Todd is part of the founding generation of the Tribune. His eye for history, his passion for craftsmanship and his vision for immersive storytelling are boundless. His team will be doing more documentary-style stories in the coming months. It will be part of a larger, ongoing discussion led by Jacob Villanueva about our audio strategy and how best to structure and support it.
Finally, I want to say how delighted I am that Andy Alford finally joined us last week, as Director of Editorial Recruitment, Training and Career Development, and as a member of the direction of Tribune. Andy started meeting all the staff and understanding the needs and aspirations of our colleagues. She will ensure that our journalists have the skills and tools they need to thrive here and beyond. She will develop and implement best practices for the recruitment, hiring, compensation, retention and advancement of our journalists. It will help us become a newsroom that reflects the state it covers.
Andy, Ayan, Matthew, Darla, Audience Director Bobby Blanchard and I will meet frequently as a team, working in unison to help us excel. This team will also give me the time I need to collaborate with our colleagues in events, product, communications, revenue, fundraising, finance and human resources as we all prepare for a future beyond Evan Smith and Ross Ramsey, our beloved co-founders.
I extend my congratulations to Darla and Chris on their promotions and my thanks to all of our senior managers for their continued leadership.