Executive editor Edwina Blackwell Clark and The Columbus Dispatch have parted ways, according to multiple sources.
Beryl Love, executive editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, will serve as interim editor while the newspaper conducts a search for Blackwell Clark's replacement. (Love, who previously served in the interim role following the 2021 retirement of Dispatch editor Alan Miller, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.)
Staff were informed of the decision in an afternoon meeting today.
Blackwell Clark's June 2022 hiring following a months-long national search, and she was the first woman and person of color to serve in the role in the paper's nearly 152-year history.
"I'm really excited about the next chapter for The Columbus Dispatch ..." Blackwell Clark said upon her hiring. "Together, we're going to figure things out. We're going to forge that path together."
But the path was sometimes rocky, coming at a time when the Dispatch and parent company Gannett have struggled with cuts and staff departures. In May, Poynter reported that eight high-ranking editors or executives had left Gannett in the six months prior. And in June, journalists from the chain staged a one-day strike during the media company's annual shareholder meeting.
“Reed doesn’t care one bit about a long-term strategy to invest in the company by investing in journalists,” NewsGuild President Jon Schleuss said of Gannett chief executive Mike Reed in a statement issued at the time. “They need support and resources to make sure our communities have the local news needed to keep our democracy thriving. Instead, Reed’s singular focus has been on stuffing his own pockets. Reed has overstayed his welcome at Gannett and needs to go.”