For the first time in 35 years, The Dallas Morning News has an editor who didn’t come up through the ranks at the paper. The previous editor, Bob Mong, retires Friday. His replacement is Mike Wilson, whose last job was at Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.
Wilson is no a stranger to the newspaper business, though. Before joining Silver's sports/politics/culture website, Wilson was managing editor at the Tampa Bay Times.
Interview Highlights: Mike Wilson…
…On what drew him back to newspapers:
"I got an email from the publisher, Jim Moroney, asking me if I’d be interested in talking about coming to Dallas and I was just incredibly excited about the opportunity to lead a news organization. I never lost my love for newspapers and didn’t feel like I actually left newspapers, but rather I just kind of reached out for a new opportunity in New York [for FiveThirtyEight]."
…On the mentality newspapers need to throw out:
"I think what we need to throw out are some old notions of what our readers need. We just have to be more responsive to what the audience wants. I think the tradition in newspapers has been that we have set the agenda and we’ve told readers what we think they want to know. I think we need to come down off of that mountain a little bit and ask people, involve people in the conversation a little bit more."
…On the future of the regional newspaper:
"I think we have a great future. I think we offer something of value to the communities we serve that I think they can’t do without. We don’t have an audience problem; we don’t have a journalism problem. We have a business problem. If we can work through that business problem and sustain our news reporting, I think we can serve the community for another 130 years."
Watch: Mike Wilson dancing to the Harlem Shake in the Tampa Bay Times newsroom
...On whether he'll have a 'Harlem Shake' moment at The Dallas Morning News:
"I can neither confirm or deny that ... there was a day at the Tampa Bay Times where we decided to have a little fun and make a video. Some folks asked me to do it and I have to say it was probably the best thing I did at the Tampa Bay Times in my 18 years there in terms of giving people a laugh and letting the staff know who I was."
- From The Dallas Morning News: The News names first new editor from outside paper in 35 years