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Monday, July 8, 2019 07:12 pm

Top SJ-R editor announces departure

Will head UIS journalism program

 Jason Piscia, digital managing editor for the State Journal-Register, will depart the paper next month to become head of the Public Affairs Reporting program at University of Illinois Springfield.

Piscia, a 1998 PAR graduate who’s worked for the SJ-R for 21 years, will take his new position on Aug. 5, according to a UIS press release. Piscia is the highest-ranking editor at the SJ-R in charge of news since former editor Angie Muhs announced her resignation in May, then was walked out of the building. Muhs had reportedly told her staff that she resigned in hopes of preventing layoffs in a news staff that now includes a features writer and five reporters assigned to cover state and local governments, courts, schools, business, healthcare and breaking news.

Piscia’s leaving is the latest in a series of departures by SJ-R editors. Richard Saal, the paper’s longtime photo editor, was laid off in May, and sports editor Todd Adams lost his job in March as GateHouse Media, the paper’s corporate owner, cut staff in papers across the nation. In a story posted Monday, the paper says that Kate Schott, editorial page editor, is the paper's interim editor, effective immediately.

GateHouse advertised for a new editor after Muhs left but has not announced a hire. In the story posted Monday evening, the SJ-R reported that it continues to advertise for someone to replace Muhs. The story also notes that GateHouse recently has named Dennis Anderson, executive editor of the Peoria Journal Star, as the company's Illinois state editor, one of 13 such editors named nationwide by GateHouse, which publishes more than 150 daily newspapers.

Anderson will "lead and coordinate newsroom efforts" at GateHouse's 33 papers in Illinois, including 14 daily publications, according to the SJ-R story. The GateHouse installation of state editors is a project that will "reorganize and refocus efforts to better serve newspaper readers, including the SJ-R," the paper reported.

At UIS, Piscia will replace Charles Wheeler, who is retiring after 26 years of running the university’s PAR program, a master's level program established in 1972 to teach students how to cover politics and government.

Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com.



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