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Star-Telegram names Wichita editor as its newsroom leader

Steve Coffman
Steve Coffman

A man with an extensive journalism background in Kansas and Tennessee was announced Thursday as the Star-Telegram's new editor.

Steve Coffman, current editor of the Wichita Eagle and Kansas.com, will join the Star-Telegram on April 9.

“Steve brings impressive news and journalistic leadership as well as a determined focus on multimedia transformation that promise only to build on our terrific work and accomplishments to date,” said Sean Burke, Star-Telegram president and publisher. “Steve's strong emphasis on watchdog and enterprise journalism is certain to continue our diligent efforts toward keeping the Star-Telegram essential to our readers and community.”

Prior to working in Wichita, Coffman was executive editor and director of content development at the Jackson Sun, a Gannett property in Jackson, Tenn. He also worked in leadership roles at the Fayetteville Observer in North Carolina, and Finger Lakes Times in New York.



Coffman said he believes strongly in a news organization's ability to provide not only breaking news but also in-depth stories that hold public officials accountable. He also appreciates good writing, whether in traditional print or digital platforms.

"I believe there's value in telling compelling stories, and we can do that through words and video," Coffman said. "I believe in the words, too. I'm still into words and vocabulary and telling the story."

Coffman, who earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania, replaces Lauren Gustus as the Star-Telegram's editor. Gustus earlier this year was promoted to regional editor for McClatchy’s California and Idaho newsrooms.

The McClatchy Co. is a digitally focused publishing company that operates 29 newspapers in 14 states, and is the parent company of the Star-Telegram.

Coffman's wife, Jean, is a third-grade teacher in Wichita. He also has two sons — one in college, the other in high school.

In the two months since Gustus moved to the West Coast, Tom Johanningmeier, managing editor for sports and projects, has served as the Star-Telegram's interim editor.

"Tom not only steered the ship but contributed significantly to elevating our performance," Burke said.

Also Thursday, Tim Grieve, McClatchy vice president of news, announced the latest step in the company's effort to regionalize its leadership.

Mike Fannin, executive editor and vice president of the Kansas City Star, will become McClatchy regional editor for the Midwest. In that role, he will continue to oversee the Kansas City Star, as well as the Wichita Eagle, Belleville News-Democrat in Illinois and the Star-Telegram.

Gustus will continue to oversee McClatchy news outlets in California and Idaho, and will add publications in Washington state to her mix. Grieve announced.

Gordon Dickson: 817-390-7796; @gdickson

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