Daily Iowan selects editor for 2010-11

BY EMILY BUSSE | MARCH 09, 2010 7:30 AM

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After a night of competitive hourlong interviews, Lead Metro Editor Brian Stewart is poised to be next year’s editor-in-chief of The Daily Iowan.

Stewart was up against Clara Hogan, a former Metro editor currently studying in Brussels, for the position Monday evening, a pairing that interviewers said made for one very difficult decision.

“We had two of the best candidates going head-to-head in years,” Daily Iowan Publisher Bill Casey said during his announcement in the newsroom around 9 p.m.

Russell Lenth, who serves as the chairman of Student Publications Inc., the board that oversees the DI, said they’d “never seen two better candidates … but we had to pick one.”

He noted Stewart’s great leadership skills and journalistic experience as reasons he will be successful replacing current Editor Kelsey Beltramea next year.

Stewart joined the DI on a scholarship in the summer of 2007, getting his first article, about teacher-pay negotiations, placed on the front page.

The 20-year-old said the thought of becoming editor was always on his mind, but as he rose through the ranks from reporting to editing, it became more of a goal.

“[The editor] has the potential in a year to completely boost our coverage and make changes that better The Daily Iowan for the future,” Stewart said.

Starting as a Metro reporter, Stewart covered Iowa City School District, the state Board of Regents, and food and culture, before working as an Arts & Culture editor and Metro editor.

In addition to experience at the DI, Stewart took a summer to work as a staff writer at the Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C., and he has attended several journalism conferences.

Stewart said the experience of following former President George W. Bush during his visit to Iowa City after the 2008 flood was one of his best assignments.

But he named a 2008 feature on a local cancer survivor who bakes rainbow cakes as one of his favorites.

In addition to a wide variety of reporting topics, Casey said Stewart’s knowledge of all aspects of the DI was his “edge.”

“My different positions have really helped me see how the paper operates as a whole,” Stewart said.

Lenth, a UI professor, said he hopes for “a sense of camaraderie and community” at the DI next year and noted Stewart has the personality to make it happen.

“He answered things in a way that showed he had the interests of the The Daily Iowan at heart.”

In his 35th year as publisher, Casey said he’s always eager to work with another student editor and looks forward to a fresh perspective every year, noting that Stewart has “really good people skills.”

Stewart said he plans to push for convergence — working across platforms including Daily Iowan TV and the web — and work to ensure “superior” news coverage.

“My ability to motivate and lead a staff will be beneficial in ensuring The Daily Iowan as a whole can produce a fantastic product every day,” Stewart said.

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