The Juneau Empire welcomed Charles Ward last week as the newspaper's new Deputy Managing Editor.
Ward, a University of Oklahoma graduate and recent graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Law, arrived in Juneau with nearly a decade of journalistic and other media experience. Most recently he was the Assistant Managing Editor of the Oklahoma Daily in Norman, Okla.
He also served as sports editor for community publications like the Claremore Progress in Claremore, Okla., the International Falls Daily Journal in International Falls, Minn., and the Gallup Independent in Gallup, N.M., as well as the Oklahoman in Oklahoma City, Okla., a major daily publication. Prior to those positions he worked as a sports writer for the Hobbs News-Sun in Hobbs, N.M.
For Ward, a native of Tulsa, Okla., the allure of Alaska was one of the attractions of working in the state's capital city.
"I was pretty sure this was the right opportunity for me, but it was kind of fortunate that my wife and I planned an Alaskan cruise," he said. "We'd always wanted to come to Alaska anyway to see everything, so while we were here, we stopped by the paper and saw the town. That really sealed the deal right there."
Managing Editor Charles Westmoreland said the decision to hire Ward was an easy one, especially given his background.
"Charles has a wealth of experience in this industry, in addition to proven leadership skills and a solid understanding of community journalism," Westmoreland said. "His versatility will make an immediate impact to our print and online products."
As for filling the position of Deputy Managing Editor, which has been vacant since the departure of Jill Homer in late March, Ward looked at it as an opportunity to take the next step in his career.
"It was a chance to be in a leadership role again," he said. "It was a chance to do both editing and writing as part of the editorial board and also to do some other news writing.
"I'm hoping to be here a really long time. This isn't just a pit stop, this is a place I want to be for a while, if not the rest of my life," Ward continued. "I think the paper is really good, but any organization, from the New York Times on down, always has room for improvement. Hopefully, we at the paper can grow and improve, and I can be a big part of that."