Susan Goldberg will leave the San Jose Mercury News to become editor of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, replacing Doug Clifton who’s retiring this week. The announcement will happen in both newsrooms today, The Blog has learned.
The Blog reports that Goldberg will take over in Cleveland on May 29.
Carole Leigh Hutton will be the new executive editor in San Jose, publisher George Riggs told the staff at an 11 a.m. newsroom gathering, which coincided with a meeting in Ohio where the Plain Dealer’s staff learned that Goldberg would be their new editor.
Hutton had been vice president of community newspapers for the California Newspaper Partnership, which publishes the Mercury News. She’s a former editor and publisher of the Detroit Free Press. Hutton assumes her duties May 21, one week from today.
Goldberg has been executive editor of the Mercury News since 2003 when she took the helm from the well-respected David Yarnold, and before that was the paper’s managing editor, a position she accepted in 1999 at the height of the dot-com boom.
Goldberg was right at the storytelling center of the most vibrant part of the American economy when she started — and also presided over the newsroom when the bubble burst, watching as much of the core advertising for the newspaper dried up almost overnight. The woman knows how to manage through both good and bad.
Goldberg has been a champion of bold visual journalism since her arrival at the Merc, which was already known as a good design paper.
Under her watch, though, the Merc has been judged a World’s Best-Designed Newspaper by SND and placed among the top winners in the Society’s annual creative competition for the last seven years. And the photography staff has become a leader in multimedia storytelling, taking top honors from both the National Press Photographers Association and Pictures of the Year International.
Goldberg was also a significant supporter of SND’s annual workshop and exhibition, which was held in San Jose in 2004 and hosted by the Mercury News. Many SND-ers met her there and were delighted to find her attending sessions and participating at a level few top editors had before.
From her early days as a reporter at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer to her work for the Detroit Free Press covering the Michigan statehouse, Goldberg established herself as a tenacious reporter. The Michigan State alum is, by all colleague accounts, an amazingly talented journalist who has a creative spark few can match.
During her first tour of duty at the Merc, Goldberg was instrumental in directing the Pulitzer Prize winning coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.
Goldberg spent the longest stretch of her career at USA Today, where in 10 years she served as deputy managing editor in three areas: projects and investigations, features, and news. It was after those stints that she returned to the Mercury News as its first female managing editor and, subsequently, as the first woman to hold the title of executive editor.
To say that The Blog will miss The Boss at the day job is a huge understatement. She’s an inspirational force, a smart change agent, a terrific conceptual thinker, one of our closest friends and the best darn editor we have ever had the privilege to work with. We wish her the best, of course, but 750 Ridder Park Drive just won’t be the same without her.
Shake ’em up in Cleveland, Susan!