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WNN - Burlington Free Press - Interviews

Mike Townsend

Executive Editor

Mike Townsend is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College of Journalism. He began his career as a reporter for two scrub weeklies, the Carroll Record and the Sykesville Herald, but reported for only a short time. He moved quickly into editing as editor, the Carroll County Times in Westminster, MD.; suburban editor, The Harford Sun, an edition of The (Baltimore) Sun; managing editor, the Rockford (IL) Register Star; executive editor, the Marin (CA) Independent Journal; and managing editor, The Des Moines Register. He is now executive editor of the Burlington Free Press in what he describes as picture-perfect Vermont where he walks to work every day and rides a Trek up to 100 miles on weekends.

[VT 0201] - Part 1: Intro and Contribution (7:19)

Michael Townsend, executive editor, Burlington Free Press, has been the editor since August 2001. Townsend says The Free Press distinguishes itself by “swamping a story with reporters.” “We are the major producer of information in our community,” says Townsend.

[VT 0202] - Part 2: Ethics & Content (6:33)

Michael Townsend, executive editor, Burlington Free Press, says his professional ethical code for his staff is simple: “Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Don’t steal. And be fair.” And that personal code is backed up by a Gannett code of ethics his staff reads and signs.

[VT 0203] - Part 3: Strategic Changes (6:30)

Michael Townsend, executive editor, Burlington Free Press, says within the constraints of the 21st Century economy, “the paper-of-record does not exist anymore

[VT 0204] - Part 4: Adaptation & the Future (8:28)

Michael Townsend, executive editor, Burlington Free Press, says he expects his newspaper will emphasize “public service watchdog reporting,” and “a stronger focus on narrative reporting,” and that “the degree of engagement with the community” will increase in the years ahead.

[VT 0205] - Part 5: Prospects & Preparation (2:35)

Michael Townsend, executive editor, Burlington Free Press, says his main criteria for hiring is to find good storytellers. “Writing. That’s what I want. Writers,” says Townsend. “Real writers.”