Southern Illinoisan hires new editor

By Gus Bode

James Bennett to take over Oct. 31

The Southern Illinoisan announced Sunday that a new top editor with 21 years of experience at 14 different newspapers has been hired.

James Bennett, the sports editor at the Arizona Daily Star, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 113,000 on weekdays and 174,000 on Sundays, will take the position as the “top person in the newsroom” Oct. 31, Publisher Dennis DeRossett said.

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Bennett, a 1984 graduate of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville with a degree in communications, worked for the Arizona Daily Star for five years and also has worked for daily papers in Phoenix, Seattle, Salem, Ore., and Charlotte, N.C.

He also took jobs in Georgia and Florida to be closer to his hometown of Cookeville, Tenn., and his family, Bennett said, which is one of the main reasons he opted to come to Carbondale.

The Arizona Daily Star sports section is a regular winner in the Associated Press Sports Editors contest. The section won honorable mentions in 2004 and 2002 and was a top ten-rated section in 2001, according to the contest’s official Web site.

Bennett said he is glad to come to southern Illinois because he has always wanted to be the editor of a community paper.

“You can feel the community’s pulse,” he said “The hometown flavor of the paper is something I’m going to be looking at.”

The paper has been operating without an editor since Sept. 1, when editor Meta Minton, who filled the position for the past two years, left.

Reporter Haley Murray can be reached at [email protected]

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