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News leaders take helm at The Republic

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New editor of The Republic, Tom Jekel, left, and Scarlett Syse, group editor, South Group, pose in The Republic newsroom in downtown Columbus, Indiana Tuesday August 21, 2012.
New editor of The Republic, Tom Jekel, left, and Scarlett Syse, group editor, South Group, pose in The Republic newsroom in downtown Columbus, Indiana Tuesday August 21, 2012. PHOTO BY JOE HARPRING

 The Republic announced today changes in management of the editorial department.

Tom Jekel, a career journalist who has served in several managerial roles in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, began his duties as editor of The Republic this week.

Scarlett Syse, who started at the Daily Journal in Johnson County in 1999, has assumed the newly created role of group editor over The Republic, the Daily Journal, the Brown County Democrat and The Tribune in Seymour.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Scarlett for close to 15 years,” Group Publisher Chuck Wells said.

“Scarlett took a very good newspaper at the Daily Journal and made it one of the best papers in the Midwest. She and her staff have produced countless awards in their pursuit of excellence.

“As group editor, Scarlett will have the opportunity to work with our other editors in elevating the quality of our work. We are equally excited to have Tom Jekel at The Republic. Tom has a strong record of producing great content. Tom also shares our commitment to the communities we serve. I can’t think of a better team to lead The Republic newsroom.”

Jekel, who most recently served as publisher and editor of The Times-Reporter in New Philadelphia, Ohio, has spent much of his career in central Indiana, beginning as editor of the Noblesville Ledger and Topics Newspapers from 1993 to 2001. He was named general manager in 2001 and in 2006 was promoted to general manager/community newspapers for Indianapolis Star Media, parent company of the Noblesville operation.

While he was in charge of the Noblesville Ledger, it was twice recognized (2004 and 2008) as the Blue Ribbon Newspaper by the Hoosier State Press Association. In 1999, he served as president of the Indiana Associated Press Managing Editors Association and was on the board of directors for 10 years.

Prior to his work at Noblesville he was assistant managing editor at the Lansing State Journal in Michigan.

At New Philadelphia, he was involved in a number of community activities. He served on the boards of the Healthy Tuscarawas Task Force (an organization similar to the local Healthy Communities Initiative) and the Union Hospital Association in nearby Dover, Ohio, and the Tuscarawas Valley Heritage Inc. (a nonprofit board associated with the county’s convention and visitors bureau) in New Philadelphia. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a major in journalism.

Jekel said the role of any community newspaper should be to provide readers a window to the local world.

“Today we have to be customer-oriented,” he said. “We must always be aware of our customer needs and the importance of being responsive. We have to find what people want, when they want it and how they want it.”

Syse has led the Daily Journal through significant changes and community events and issues, including the flood of 2008.

Under her leadership, the paper won the coveted Blue Ribbon, the top prize among Indiana newspapers of all circulation sizes. Her staff has won numerous writing, design and journalism excellence awards, including honors for investigative reporting and community service.

Syse served as the Daily Journal online editor for a year before being named editor in September 2000. She has nearly 30 years of newspaper experience, having worked as a reporter, city editor and editor. From 1985 to 1999, she worked at The Shelbyville News, serving as editor from July 1993 to November 1999.

A graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee, she serves on the freedom of information and newsroom seminar committees for the Hoosier State Press Association and is a member of the board of directors of Indiana Associated Press Managing Editors and the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame.

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