A New Steward  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  The Beat
From AJR,   October 1996

A New Steward   

By Sinéad OBrien
Sinéad O'Brien is a former AJR editorial assistant.     


Pioneer Cole Campbell is heading west.

Campbell, a champion of today's new-style team-oriented newsrooms while at Norfolk's Virginian-Pilot , starts work this month as editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch .

The move has inspired mixed emotions in Campbell, a 43-year-old Virginia native, who also embraced public journalism as editor of the Norfolk paper. "I regret leaving the Pilot," he says. "We're now beginning to reap the harvest of that work, and I'm sorry to leave as the end-gathering begins."

The new editor should encounter no shortage of challenges in his new post, since the Pulitzer-owned Post-Dispatch's newsroom has seen its share of turmoil this year. Campbell's predecessor, William Woo , learned in February he was being replaced, shortly after Managing Editor Foster Davis left. In addition, Campbell succeeds someone who is as well-known for his skepticism about public journalism as Campbell is for his advocacy of it.

Asked if he plans to reinvent the newsroom in St. Louis as he helped do in Virginia, Campbell makes no promises. "The Post-Dispatch is already embarking on some changes that are making it more vital," he says, "and I'm going to add to that process."

Campbell calls Woo, now teaching journalism at Stanford, "an exceptionally gifted journalist, a great writer, a thoughtful critic" and describes him as "a steward of the Pulitzer tradition." "I hope to be a steward of that tradition," Campbell says, "and help transform [the Post-Dispatch] to be a vital force in the 21st century."

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