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Civil Beat Editor and General Manager John Temple has accepted a new position as managing editor of The Washington Post.
John helped Randy Ching and me launch Civil Beat in 2010 as its editor and over the past two years contributed to its growth into a news source that’s part of the daily conversation in Honolulu. Civil Beat was recognized as Hawaii’s Best Overall News Site by the state chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists after just eight months.
Civil Beat partners with Hawaii Public Radio, KITV, Clear Channel/KHVH, the Maui News, the Garden Island and others to share its investigative reporting across the islands. It also has developed subscription partnerships with Farmers Insurance, the Hawaii State Bar Association and Kanu Hawaii.
John’s selection by the Post, in my view, is a sign of the way the national journalism community is watching Civil Beat and embraces its innovative approach. We’re appreciative of John’s leadership and very happy for him. It’s rewarding to see that good work by people here is recognized nationally.
“Civil Beat’s pioneering approach to digital journalism shows how powerful new media can be in serving communities,” Washington Post Editor Marcus Brauchli says. “As we look for ways to engage our readers in Washington and around the world, it’s clear we can learn and benefit from John’s experience in Honolulu.”
John wasn’t looking for a job. He and Judith, his wife, were very happy here and had become part of the community. But it’s hard to say no when one of the nation’s most prestigious news organizations comes calling.
“It was a difficult decision for me to make. I love Hawaii and appreciate how open people here have been to me,” John told me. “I believe in Civil Beat and look forward to seeing it continue to grow in coming years. But ultimately I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to help such a storied news organization in a leadership role.”
Taking over at the helm of Civil Beat in the interim will be Deputy Editor Patti Epler and Operations Director Heidi Pliszka.
Patti is a Pulitzer Prize-winning editor who joined Civil Beat last fall as deputy editor. The California native lived in Hawaii on a sailboat many years ago and has worked in Alaska, Washington state, Arizona and Oregon. She led the team at the East Valley Tribune in Arizona that won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting. At Civil Beat, Patti has been running the day-to-day operations of the newsroom for months and recently directed the series, “Taken For a Ride,” which exposed the reason for skyrocketing school bus costs in Hawaii.
Heidi has worked for decades in technology management and operations roles, including at Anthology Marketing Group, where she was vice president and director of account management for the Digital Marketing Group. Heidi was born and raised in Hawaii and has a personal passion for making a difference in the place she calls home. She has been overseeing business operations at Civil Beat since summer 2011.
John will be one of two managing editors at the Post. He will oversee the departments that predominantly serve the Washington, D.C., area such as Local, Sports, local business and many features/entertainment sections. He will also serve as the newsroom’s senior digital editor.
Before joining Civil Beat, John was editor, president and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver. That paper closed in February 2009 after almost 150 years of publishing. He also served as vice president/news for the newspaper division of the E.W. Scripps Co., which owned the Rocky.
The duties of general manager were added to John’s plate last summer, and in that capacity he’s reached out and deepened our ties in the community.
I know the people at The Washington Post will enjoy working with John, and I’m sure he can help the paper achieve new highs. I’m proud that the next managing editor of such an important national news organization comes from Honolulu.
As for what’s next here at Civil Beat, we’re excited for all the stories and conversations yet to come. We will continue our work on top of the incredible foundation that John helped us create.
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