It would appear the Chron has a new head boss. Nancy Barnes, the former editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, will take over as Editor and Executive Vice President on October 15. Barnes, 52, replaces Jeff Cohen, who is taking over the Editorial and Op-Ed sections of the news division. Though she has been in Minnesota for the past ten years, starting in the business section and taking over as Editor in 2007, she should be comfortable with the heat in Houston, having gone to college in Virginia and North Carolina.
Under her watch, the Star Tribune nabbed a 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Local News. "I'm honored to be asked to lead the Houston Chronicle during one of the most fascinating eras in both Houston's history and American journalism," Barnes said in a release.
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Barnes becomes the first woman editor of the Chronicle, a not irrelevant distinction considering the city's good ol' boy history. She will take over a publication that has downsized substantially in recent years while radically altering its online presence.
Last year, the paper split its Web content into two entities. Chron.com remains, devoted to breaking news, blogs and so many slideshows, you'd think you were in a house in the '70s after your grandparents got back from vacation to the Grand Canyon. The much more streamlined (read: with fewer ads) HoustonChronicle.com launched in November 2012 behind a paywall for subscribers only. Content there is much more in depth, with most of the print publication available that isn't on Chron.com.
No word on whether that experiment has paid off, but no doubt Barnes will hit the ground running at Houston's only daily. We wish her the best of luck.