New top editor for Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press named
The executive editor of a New Jersey newspaper was named on Monday as the top editor of the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) and The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk).
Kris Worrell, 53, who has served as executive editor and vice president of news for The Press of Atlantic City in New Jersey since 2014, has ties to Hampton Roads, having graduated from Kempsville High School in Virginia Beach and worked for both the Daily Press and Pilot.
Worrell previously served as executive editor and regional editor at the Observer-Dispatch in New York, managing editor of the Beaumont Enterprise in Texas, assistant managing editor of The Times Union in New York and special projects editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Pilot and Daily Press merged into one news organization after Tribune Publishing bought The Pilot for $34 million in May 2018. Tribune executive Par Ridder, who has been serving as interim general manager of the newspapers, told staff Monday that Worrell would take over as editor-in-chief on Aug. 26.
Worrell said Monday that it's too early to talk about strategies for growing the publications' reach.
"There are certainly things I've seen work in other markets, depending on what we're talking about, whether it's growing audience, producing more engaging content," she said. "I really want to take the first part of my tenure here to listen and read stories and learn more about the market as it stands now."
Worrell's first newsroom position was as a reporter in the Nags Head bureau for The Pilot. She said it was the "best first job ever," covering everything from school board meetings to hermit crab races. She also spent a year as a features reporter for the Daily Press in the early 1990s.
Worrell graduated from Kempsville High in 1984. She is married, has two teenage children and expects to move back to Virginia Beach.
"It really is a thrill to be named editor of your hometown paper," she said. "That's really such a special situation, and I'm just glad to be home."
The merged newsroom has been without a top editor since Marisa Porto stepped down in March. Porto took over leadership of The Pilot from Steve Gunn three weeks after Tribune bought The Pilot. She oversaw the two publications' merger.
The Pilot may be getting more than just a new editor. Tribune has placed the publication's headquarters for sale for $9.86 million. The downtown Norfolk building on West Brambleton Avenue has been home to the paper since 1937.
Staff writer Kimberly Pierceall contributed to this report.