An accomplished editor and leader who is dedicated to providing readers with accurate and relevant information is taking the helm of The Times media center operations.
Bob Heisse, executive editor of The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill., was named the editor of The Times Media Co. on Tuesday. He will start May 12.
Heisse is a veteran media industry manager, serving as the top editor of The State Journal-Register since March 2012. He also served as regional editor of GateHouse Media in Illinois.
“We are ecstatic to have Bob join Northwest Indiana's premier media company,” Times Publisher Chris White said. “He embraces the best of enterprise and investigative reporting, while focusing on community news, and I'm certain he will prove to be an asset to Northwest Indiana.”
Heisse said he is looking forward to joining The Times with its reputation for strong local community news as well as impactful, large projects.
“The State Journal-Register is a fantastic newspaper and I was thrilled to be here,” he said. “It's tough to leave but I think it's a wonderful opportunity to join a great newspaper in a great community.”
At The State Journal-Register, Heisse directed a number of initiatives and projects, including new feature sections and a new health care website for the newspaper and its sister papers. He also introduced Flashback Springfield, an initiative spotlighting the history from the paper's archives. Heisse started regional reporting projects with GateHouse Illinois newspapers that looked at hunger in Illinois, the state government's $100,000 earners, concealed carry issues and more.
Heisse has pushed his newsrooms to be “digital first” while keeping the high standards of the daily print edition, something he hopes to continue at The Times.
“We need to reach people on every platform,” he said. “I’m very conscious of preserving our print product and putting even more in print. There is a tremendous core group that reads the print edition. Let's provide them more, but bolster it with digital.”
Heisse also pointed to social media as an important tool to get the community involved.
He is especially proud of efforts linking the community and the newspaper, and The State Journal-Register recently was acknowledged with the Downtown Springfield award for best public-private partnership for working with the state to move the 51st First Citizen Award to the Old State Capitol.
He looks forward to fostering those same strong relationships between The Times and Northwest Indiana, as he believes the media must serve an active role in collaboration and cooperation with the community.
“I admire and applaud the One Region initiative, and I would like to help build on that effort,” Heisse said. “Communities need to work together, and I would like to be part of making that happen in the region.”
Heisse said he is always looking to bring community content into the paper, such as columns from local nonprofits and area colleges.
Before joining The State Journal-Register, he led the newsroom of the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa., where he worked as executive editor and vice president.
The Centre Daily Times earned numerous honors during Heisse's time there – winning the Keystone sweepstakes as best in its class in Pennsylvania for 10 consecutive years and the McClatchy President's Award for coverage of the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State University.
At The Times, Heisse replaces longtime executive editor Bill Nangle, who announced his retirement Monday after 50 years in journalism. Heisse said he will make sure there is a smooth transition, and praised Nangle's many achievements in journalism and for The Times.
Heisse has been active in many industry organizations and currently serves as vice president of the Illinois Associated Press Media Editors. He is the former president of the national Associated Press Media Editors and its Foundation, the Pennsylvania APME and the Pennsylvania Society of Newspaper Editors.
Heisse is a big fan of professional bull riding and rodeo, as well as hockey and other sports. He also enjoys traveling, and looks forward to getting to know various places in the region. And he wants the region to get to know him.
“I want us to be critical to everyone's lives – the stories we report, the awareness we build, the outreach we do can affect every community.”