Mississippi Public Broadcasting selects newspaper editor as new director

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Ronnie Agnew, executive editor of the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., for nearly a decade, is the new head of Mississippi Public Broadcasting, the newspaper reports. MPB’s former executive director, Judith Lewis, resigned last September after her controversial decision to discontinue Fresh Air (Current, July 26, 2010). Agnew was selected as the 50th recipient of the Samuel Talbert Silver Em Award, the University of Mississippi’s highest journalism honor. He serves as a member of the American Society of News Editors’ board of directors and chairs its diversity committee. Agnew has worked at Gannett newspapers in Hattiesburg and Cincinnati as well as Jackson for most of the past 20 years. Leaving the newspaper, as one of the few black editors heading a U.S. daily, is wrenching, Agnew told Richard Prince, author of the Maynard Institute blog on media diversity. “I am assured that I will have more time to spend with my family,” Agnew said. “This move is about family. … This move is about taking Mississippi Public Broadcasting to the next level through knowledge as a journalist gleaned over 27 years.”

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