Juneau Empire names new managing editor

Charles Westmoreland, a 10-year news veteran, to replace Michael Plett

Posted: Monday, January 12, 2009

Charles Westmoreland, a resident of Juneau for the past year, has been named managing editor of the Juneau Empire, Publisher Robert Hale announced on Friday.

Westmoreland, a 10-year newsroom veteran, is replacing Michael Plett, the Empire's managing editor since April. Plett served in several management roles during his six years with the paper, earning state and national recognition for page design, graphics and illustrations. Plett will move into a state position as a publications specialist for the Alaska Department of Labor.

Westmoreland, 29, is transitioning from the Capital City Weekly, another Morris Communications-owned newspaper based in Juneau, where he has served as managing editor since February 2008. Westmoreland relocated from Louisville, Ky., to accept position, saying he craved a more adventurous environment to apply his trade.

"It's an exciting time to be working as a journalist in Alaska's capital city," he said. "Finding balance between being a community newspaper and capital daily is a challenge I gladly accept."

Capital City Weekly Associate Editor Katie Spielberger, 25, will serve as the CCW's interim managing editor. Spielberger joined the CCW last May as a staff writer and was promoted into an editorial position last month.

"Mr. Westmoreland has done a solid job during his time at the Capital City Weekly," Hale said, "and he brings to the Juneau Empire an enthusiasm and a community journalism background that will allow us to focus more on Juneau and Southeast than on publishing a newspaper that is all things to all people. The past year has been quite challenging at the Empire - and within the newspaper industry overall - and our emphasis now must be more on the gathering and presentation of local editorial content."

Westmoreland began his career as a photojournalist in the United States Army in 1999. He earned national acclaim from the military for coverage of Ranger and Field Medical training. His assignments included posts throughout the U.S. and overseas.

After being honorably discharged from active duty service in late 2002, Westmoreland moved to Louisville, Ky., to study English at the University of Louisville, about 90 miles from where he was raised in the greater Cincinnati area. He joined the Kentucky National Guard immediately after leaving active duty, where he served as a print section chief in a public affairs detachment.

As a senior at the University of Louisville, Westmoreland served as editor-in-chief of the college's student newspaper, earning Kentucky's highest collegiate journalism award in 2004. In 2005, he left the National Guard to focus on his career. Westmoreland's first post-military position was as executive editor of Louisville's Voice-Tribune, Kentucky's largest paid weekly. When the paper was sold in 2006, he headed a start-up newspaper outside of Fort Knox, Ky.

Westmoreland's journalism awards include news, features, sports, photography and page design.

Westmoreland is single and when not working he enjoys photography, snowboarding, camping and reading.

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