Veteran Chicago journalist Jim Kirk, former publisher and editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times, was appointed interim editor-in-chief of the New York Daily News Thursday.
The move comes four months after the New York tabloid was acquired by tronc, Chicago-based parent company of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications. The Daily News has been without an editor-in-chief or publisher since Arthur Browne retired from both jobs at the end of December.
Kirk, 52, who joined tronc in August as senior vice president of strategic initiatives for its digital content and commerce division, most recently served as interim executive editor of the L.A. Times.
“I love New York,” Kirk told the Daily News. “It’s an incredible city for all the reasons everybody says it is. It is a great opportunity and a great newspaper.”
In announcing Kirk’s latest role, Justin Dearborn, chief executive officer of tronc, said Kirk will oversee day-to-day editorial operations at the Daily News and work closely with other departments in the company. He’ll also participate in the search for a permanent editor-in-chief.
“Jim is one of the top editors in the business and his background makes him an exceptional choice to lead our Daily News newsroom,” Dearborn told employees in a letter. “He is a veteran journalist who has accomplished various newsroom transformations for more than a decade. He understands how to tell a great story and, as important, leverage the latest technology to grow our audience while maintaining journalistic excellence as the top priority.”
After five years at the Sun-Times, Kirk left in the wake of the paper’s sale to an investment group headed by Edwin Eisendrath, the former Chicago alderman, and a coalition of labor unions. Kirk’s move to tronc reunited him with Michael Ferro, the chairman of tronc who hired Kirk at the Sun-Times when Ferro headed former owner Wrapports.
A native of south suburban Dolton and graduate of Illinois State University, Kirk began as Midwest managing editor for Adweek and as a reporter for the Sun-Times. He moved to the Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg News, the Chicago News Cooperative and Crain’s Chicago Business before rejoining the Sun-Times.
Here is the text of Dearborn’s letter to staff:
I’m pleased to share a few management changes at the Daily News.
First, Jim Kirk has been appointed Interim Editor-in-Chief of the Daily News, effective immediately. Jim most recently served as Interim Executive Editor at the Los Angeles Times. He joined tronc in August 2017, after serving as Publisher and Editor-in-Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times since 2012.
Jim’s previous experience includes being a reporter, columnist and Business Editor at the Chicago Crain’s Chicago Business.
In this role, Jim will oversee day-to-day editorial operations and work closely with other tronc departments as the Daily News transitions to ARC, the Company’s new content management system. In addition, he will work with tronc leadership on the search for a permanent Editor-in-Chief. All Daily News newsroom leadership will report to Jim.
Jim is one of the top editors in the business and his background makes him an exceptional choice to lead our Daily News newsroom. He is a veteran journalist who has accomplished various newsroom transformations for more than a decade. He understands how to tell a great story and, as important, leverage the latest technology to grow our audience while maintaining journalistic excellence as the top priority.
In addition, I am pleased to announce Grant Whitmore as Executive Vice President and General Manager of East Coast Media for the Company. In this newly created role, Grant will be responsible for the business operations of the Daily News and oversee tronc’s East Coast markets (Baltimore, Hartford, Allentown and Newport News).
Grant will work with the PEIC’s in each of these markets to achieve our business goals, with a focus on growing our digital audience, engagement and revenue. Grant joined tronc with the Company’s acquisition of the Daily News last year, where he has served as Executive Vice President, Digital since 2014. Prior to that, Grant was Vice President and General Manager of Hearst Magazines Digital.
Please join me in congratulating both Jim and Grant on their new roles.