Don Shelton, a longtime Assistant Sports Editor with a new vision for his Sports section, was named Sports Editor of The Seattle Times on Feb. 6, replacing Cathy Henkel, who retired Dec. 12.
Shelton has been assistant at The Times since 1987, overseeing the copy desk, designers, high-school sports, college football game-day coverage, among other things.
"I’m truly energized and ready for a new challenge," said Shelton, who previously was sports editor at The Press-Democrat in Santa Rosa, Calif., and The Journal-American in Bellevue, Wash. "And, as we all know, newspaper sports editors face some huge challenges these days."
Shelton and Deputy Sports Editor Bill Reader shared sports editor’s duties after Henkel’s retirement, splitting responsibilities with Assistant Sports Editor Jon Fisch.
"I consider Bill as more of a co-pilot than a deputy," he said of Reader, who has worked at The Times for 10 years and oversees pro and college coverage. "He’s a terrific editor and we share many of the same ideas on where we need to go. I’ve also got another able manager in Assistant Sports Editor Jon Fisch."
His first order of business is dividing responsibilties, but said he plans to spread more responsibilities to others in the department.
"We three terrific columnists, a great reporting staff that has embraced blogging and a savvy, experienced copy and design desk that makes us look good every day," said Shelton, APSE Northwest Regional chairman. "Several people have stepped forward, asking for more responsibility. I plan to give them some.
"Finally, I’ve got an executive editor, Dave Boardman, who loves sports and a supportive ME, Suki Dardarian, who understands our section’s importance. So I have plenty of support that I’ll be calling on."
Shelton’s vision includes a Web-first philosphy that emphasizes blogging, posting stories far earlier in the day to increase traffic and utilitizing platforms such as audio, video, slide shows, podcasts, vodcasts, Web polls and even monetizing prep Web pages and blogs.
The challenge, Shelton said, is doing all that with fewer resources while not forgetting print readers, who still demand a solid product.
"We’ve already made some significant changes to clear some of the clutter that was wasting space and staff time," Shelton said. "We’ve got a lot more work ahead of us. But I sense a lot of pent-up energy and a willingness to find new ways of doing things and to reinvent ourselves. People just need the right vision and direction."