Roundup publisher John Naughton this week named Peter Aleshire editor in chief of the award-winning newspaper, following the retirement of editor Tom Brossart.
In each of Brossart’s four years as editor, the Arizona Newspaper Association recognized the Roundup as the best non-daily newspaper in the state.
Aleshire moves into the position after almost five years as the paper’s news editor during which time the ANA recognized him as the top non-daily newspaper reporter in the state.
Before coming to the Roundup, Aleshire served as editor of Arizona Highways magazine, a journalism instructor at Arizona State University, an investigative reporter for The Arizona Republic, science writer for the Oakland Tribune, editorial page editor for the Contra Costa Times and editor of the Indio Daily News.
He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize at the Oakland Tribune for a series on hospital dumping and has also written 10 books on topics that include the Apache Wars, geology, bats, Arizona rivers and training F-16 fighter pilots.
Brossart, 64, agreed to move up his retirement date to help the paper cope with a decline in revenues as effects of the recession linger throughout Rim Country. The paper won’t hire a news editor to fill Aleshire’s slot as he shifts to his new job.
“Tom Brossart provided outstanding leadership and prize-winning photography,” said Naughton. “We hope to work with him on other endeavors now that he’s retired.”
Brossart will continue to teach photography at Gila Community College, run photo workshops and freelance for a variety of publications.
“I enjoyed my time as the editor of the Roundup,” said Brossart, who worked for 37 years in the newspaper industry — including periods when he published his own newspaper. “Payson is a good community and with the help of an excellent staff I was proud of the work we did in producing the best newspaper in Arizona for our readers. I am sure the tradition of producing the best newspaper in the state will continue. After 30-plus years as an editor and publisher, it was time for me to pursue my first professional career love, photography. My wife and I plan on continuing to enjoy the great outdoors, traveling, hiking and horse racing.”
Brossart worked for papers in Kentucky, Montana, New Jersey, Nebraska and elsewhere and spent 20 years in Arizona, including 13 years in Sedona. One of his papers nominated him for a Pulitzer Prize. Newspapers he directed have won more than 250 regional and national awards.
“I’ve got big shoes to flop around in,” said Aleshire. “Tom’s the best editor I’ve ever had: He’s unflappable, decent, creative and kind — with unflinching integrity. Fortunately, he assembled the best crew of professionals I’ve ever worked with. I’ve never felt so much a part of the same team — no matter what department. At the Roundup, it really feels like it matters what we do — or fail to do — because of our connection to the community.”
Naughton said he selected Aleshire as the best person to ensure the Roundup maintains its award-winning quality and its deep connection to the community.
“This way, we won’t miss a beat — and we’ll continue to serve our community. Pete already knows the turf and has the confidence of the editorial staff,” said Naughton.
Aleshire said he’s eager to take on the challenge of ensuring the paper adapts to dramatic changes in the media environment — while continuing to serve readers.
Aleshire said he wants to ensure the Roundup offers its readers cutting edge journalism, without losing the intimacy and connection that distinguishes community journalism from the often distant and impersonal approach of the urban dailies.
Now with three Web sites, the Roundup is adapting to the era of Web sites, digital publications, blogs, social media and the growing use of iPads and other reading devices.
“It’s a fascinating time to run a newspaper,” said Aleshire. “More people are consuming more information than ever in the planet’s history. I routinely get calls from all over the country about a story we’ve written, because people can see it all on the Web. We get 300,000 page views a month on our Web site. The challenge lies in finding ways to serve this vast new audience — while still ensuring we can pay the people who gather and package this wonderful gush of information.”