LSJ phases out executive editor

By Andy Balaskovitz
Lansing State Journal executive editor Mickey Hirten\'s position is being phased out. His last day is Friday. City Pulse file photo.

In restructuring move, executive editor Mickey Hirten’s last day at the Journal is Friday

Wednesday, July 31 — The Lansing State Journal announced today that it’s phasing out executive editor Mickey Hirten’s position as part of a news department restructuring.

Hirten’s last day is Friday. He’s been executive editor since 2001, the Journal reported today.

Publisher Brian Priester described the move as a “restructuring of the top roles in our news department,” according to the LSJ. Managing editor Stephanie Angel will take over Hirten’s role while maintaining her same job title.

Priester could not immediately be reached for comment.

When reached by phone today, Hirten declined to comment on the decision, deferring to today’s Journal story. He didn’t have much to say about his future plans, except for a fishing trip he’s taking next week to the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

“It has been an honor to work with the news staff of the Lansing State Journal,” he told the LSJ. “We’ve produced high quality journalism that has helped shape our community.”

The Journal reported that Hirten’s former jobs included editor of the Burlington Free Press in Vermont and senior editor at newspapers in Baltimore, Phoenix and New York State.

The restructuring move is the latest editorial change at the Journal, which is owned by Gannett Co. In May 2012, the Journal — along with 82 other publications owned by Gannett — moved to an online paywall, which charges non-subscribers for online content after a limited number of free stories.

“Establishing value for the content is really, really important, and people should pay for it,” Hirten told City Pulse in April 2012. “It’s about adapting to the disruption of digital models.”

The paper also announced in February that it's looking to sell its downtown headquarters because the building is too big for the paper's "business needs."