Editor Lou Brancaccio announced Tuesday that he will step away from daily management of The Columbian’s newsroom effective Feb. 17 and assume a new role as editor emeritus.
In his new role, Brancaccio will write his popular Press Talk column on a monthly basis, and continue as a member of the newspaper’s editorial board, which sets the newspaper’s editorial stance on issues and candidates.
“It’s been both a pleasure and a privilege to work for this community and The Columbian as editor. After growing up in Chicago and working in the four corners of the United States, after 20 years in Clark County, I call this home,” Brancaccio said.
Brancaccio, 66, joined The Columbian in November 1997 as its managing editor and was named editor in January 2001 upon the retirement of Tom Koenninger.
Under Brancaccio, The Columbian transitioned from an weekday afternoon newspaper with a Sunday edition to a seven-day digital and print news organization, with extensive social media outreach on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms.
Also during Brancaccio’s tenure, Columbian staff members won more than 100 awards for reporting, photography, graphic design and online news. Last year his Press Talk column won a first-place award from the Society of Professional Journalists. The contest included columns from the largest news organizations in a five-state region.
The Press Talk column also spawned the “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” coffee mugs featuring a caricature of Brancaccio and former county commissioner David Madore. The Columbian sold thousands of the mugs; the proceeds were spent on employee appreciation events.
Columbian Publisher Scott Campbell said, “Lou has done a great job of maintaining high standards in our newsroom at a time when journalism is challenged by new technology transitions and business model challenges. He and his team have taken journalism in Clark County to a new level of excellence.”
Campbell said readers and community members are invited to an open house for Brancaccio. The event will be from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, in The Columbian’s newsroom, 701 W. Eighth St. Free “Stupid Stuff” mugs will be distributed to the first 100 guests.
Beginning Feb. 18 the newsroom will be led by Craig Brown, who has served as The Columbian’s metro editor since October 2001. In his current role, Brown also directs coverage of business news and local content for the Life and Weekend sections, and writes occasional editorials.
“Craig Brown is a highly qualified successor who has also been a key factor in our success through the last 15 years,” Campbell said.
Brown, 56, will assume a new title of managing editor and will join The Columbian’s editorial board. As managing editor, he will continue his current duties, Campbell said, including day-to-day oversight of the local news. A graduate of Washington State University, Brown has more than 30 years of experience in the news business and has lived in Clark County since 1988.