AJR  The Beat
From AJR,   June 1993

A New Leader in Milwaukee   

By Chip Rowe
Chip Rowe, a former AJR associate editor, is an editor at Playboy.     

The anonymous staffers at the Milwaukee Journal who recently peppered the newspaper with fliers lamenting the state of the daily's female and minority journalists got a welcome response from management April 21 (see Bylines, May).

That's when the Journal announced it had lured an experienced female editor, Mary Jo Meisner , away from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to oversee its newsroom.

Meisner, 41, joins the masthead above Steve Hannah , who earlier had been promoted from managing editor to the newly created position of executive editor. Meisner will take the title of editor when she arrives June 7, succeeding Sig Gissler , who retired.

Meisner, who had been managing editor at the Star-Telegram since 1989, earlier was city editor at the Washington Post , metro editor and afternoon city editor at the San Jose Mercury News , and a staffer at the Philadelphia Daily News and Wilmington News Journal .

While at the Star-Telegram, Meisner says the daily expanded coverage and launched several new sections. She says she considers the features section an especially good spot to make the paper a necessity. "It can provide a lot of useful information.. that may not come through in the hard news sections," she says. "It's a place to connect with readers who may only have time to go into one or two sections."

As for the concerns about the hiring and promotion of women and minorities at the Journal, she says she doesn't know the numbers, "but if they're underrepresented, we'll try to change that, hopefully in some kind of expedited way. I feel very strongly about that, and I know that [Journal President] Jim Currow and [Chairman] Bob Kahlor feel very strongly about it."

"If you bring the staff together," she says, "the content will follow."