Anders Gyllenhaal, executive editor who oversaw three years of massive layoffs and buyouts at the Miami Herald, is leaving town thanks to a promotion. He's been tapped by the paper's corporate owner, McClatchy Newspapers, to become Washington, D.C., editor and vice president of news for the chain.
Managing Editor Aminda "Mindy'' Marques Gonzalez will replace him as top editor at the Herald.
It's a step up for Gyllenhaal, who shepherded the paper through grueling economic times and championed the new way of doing business at dailies -- such as sharing stories with former rivals the Sun-Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post.
While Herald reporters groused about dwindling staff and shrinking resources -- "our paper looks like a paper towel," one staffer told New Times last year -- Gyllenhaal remained determinedly upbeat.
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"We reach more people than we ever have in our history," Gyllenhaal said in an interview last fall.
In September, the Herald slashed 49 more jobs from a workplace one staffer called "post-Apocalyptic." Then, a group of veteran staffers wrote a letter to the top brass complaining that the paper's coverage of local news had become "shallow and cheesy."
On his way out the door, Gyllenhaal offered these parting words of wisdom in a memo to his staff. He wrote -- optimistically -- that the downturn is ending:
I also want you to know that I was not expecting to be going anywhere. Even throughout this recession, working at The Herald is unlike any experience I've had. The enormous talent and commitment, the smart ideas and superb work are so impressive. It has been a privilege to be a part of this newsroom.
At the beginning of this year, as you may know, I started working on an effort to look for new strategies for McClatchy, which led to the news task force that recently finished its work and started putting the ideas into place. I think this work will be critically important to all our newsrooms if we can be successful. When this new role came along, it felt like the right thing to do. It also feels like the combination of the news position and overseeing the Washington bureau is a good way to be a part of both the daily work and the broader news efforts.
It's very hard to leave. But we are pulling out of this downturn, and that makes this feel like the right moment for a leadership change.