ELKHART — Greg Halling takes on a new role as editor of The Elkhart Truth and elkharttruth.com, part of a newsroom reorganization announced Saturday, July 27, by Publisher Brandon Erlacher.
Halling becomes responsible for all news operations, both print and digital. News editor Marshall King steps up to become managing editor.
“Greg will ensure that the content we produce will meet the needs of our ever-changing audiences and community, regardless of the medium, while ensuring we meet the values and mission of this organization,” Erlacher said.
Erlacher decided in June to consolidate Truth content under a single editor.
“During the height of the recession, when everyone was hurting and the newspaper industry was scaling back, this company decided to invest in talent that would produce content for more than just a newspaper,” Erlacher said. “We devised a new digital content department to produce ‘internet-only’ content to our readers.
“Interestingly,” he continued, “it was our newsroom that developed the talent, skills and tactics to become digital-first under the leadership of Greg Halling. He created a news strategy that increased user engagement and expanded our audience. I am excited to announce that Greg is now editor for the Elkhart Truth and elkharttruth.com.”
Halling joined The Truth as managing editor in 2006. In early 2008, work by the paper’s staff caught the attention of editors at msnbc.com, who partnered with The Truth for a year-long reporting initiative called The Elkhart Project.
The partnership won a 2009 award from the National Press Club.
“The Elkhart Project demonstrated the power of small-town journalism,” said Halling, 54. “It also showed us the potential of digital news.”
Pageviews on elkharttruth.com increased by nearly 25 percent between 2010 and 2012, and the growth continues as users access Truth content on tablets and smartphones.
“Traffic is one measure of success,” Halling said. “But to me, the whole point is doing good work in service to your community. If you can do that — if you can engage people, deliver the news and information they need to navigate their day-to-day lives — the traffic will follow.”
Halling is searching for a director to lead the digital content department, whose mission consists of several parts:
Managing news-related social media.
Developing a broad array of content, including databases, maps, calendars, videos and photographs.
Building online communities.
And developing new digital products.
“Ultimately, our goal is to make our journalism as powerful and effective as possible,” Halling said.
Halling named King to succeed him as managing editor.
King, a veteran journalist, became The Truth’s news and multimedia editor in 2008. Before that he worked 15 years as a staff reporter, covering a number of beats.
“It’s hard to imagine anyone better connected in Elkhart County than Marshall King,” Halling said. “He cares desperately about this place.”
King will continue to write his popular food column and blog, Dining A La King. But he’ll also be responsible for managing The Truth’s reporters, photographers and editors.
He’ll work closely with his counterpart in the digital department, Halling said.
“Marshall has a nice touch with our journalists,” he observed. “They do remarkable work together.”
“Given recent news about the newspaper business, people often ask how The Elkhart Truth is doing,” observed King, 43. “It’s a great time to be in the news business even as newspapers are changing.
“The Elkhart Truth has done great community journalism for nearly 125 years. We’ll continue to do so in the years to come. I’m humbled and honored to get to help us tell the stories in and around Elkhart County.”