Empire names Thomson, Loomis to head newsroom

Posted: Friday, February 13, 2004

The Juneau Empire has filled the top two editorial positions in the newsroom.

Brandon Loomis, an experienced reporter who grew up in Ketchikan, has been named city editor. His responsibilities are the daily management of reporters and photographers and editing local news and the opinion pages.

Lori Thomson, a member of the Empire staff since 1995, is the new managing editor. She oversees the newsroom, manages page editors, directs major projects, writes editorials, recruits columnists and deals with personnel and corporate issues.

Empire publisher Robert Hale said Loomis' roots in Southeast and experience as a reporter for The Associated Press made him a good fit for the Empire.

Loomis, 35, graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska in 1990. He later completed a fellowship in environmental reporting at the University of Michigan.

Loomis has covered growth and the environment for the Jackson Hole (Wyo.) Guide, energy and the environment for the Idaho Falls (Idaho) Post Register, urban growth and transportation for The Salt Lake Tribune and general assignments for The Associated Press in Chicago.

"I love Chicago and it was really hard to leave there," Loomis said. "It's just that I've always had this feeling ... that it would be nice to go back to a place I identified as my home and do journalism there."

Education reporter Eric Fry has served as acting city editor since Ed Schoenfeld became regional news director at CoastAlaska, a group of five Southeast public radio stations, in late September.

Thomson, 41, graduated from Duke University in 1985 with a degree in history and earned a master's in print journalism from the University of Illinois in 1990.

She has reported and edited for the Petersburg Pilot, and edited The South Advocate in Lenox, Mass. Thomson joined the Juneau Empire in 1995 as a resources reporter and became assistant city editor in 1998 and design team leader in 1999.

She led a redesign of the paper in 2002 and served as acting managing editor after Steve Reed left in mid-September to take an editing position in St. Paul, Minn.

Hale, who became publisher in late October, said he and Thomson shared beliefs about what a community newspaper in the state capital should be.

"She demonstrated a desire to get her hands around things and make our newspaper, as we go along, more local and more lively and more interesting for our readers," Hale said.

"We're talking a lot about what we can do to make the Empire reflect the community as best it can," Thomson said. "We're eager to hear from readers what we can do to make the paper serve them better."

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