Getting to know Your Hometown Newspaper

With several changes in recent weeks, here’s a rundown of who’s who

By Philip Case, Published:

After a brief time of transition, we begin Monday with a full newsroom staff here at this, Your Hometown Newspaper.

In the weeks ahead we will update you with profiles highlighting new and existing staff members and a listing of duties and areas of responsibility so that you may know who to contact with your news, sports, photo and feature questions — and ideas.

I will say more about “ideas” in a moment.

Last Monday I officially became editor-in-chief, and I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity. 

I was asked to take the position after Dan Liebman decided to step aside and concentrate on his family businesses, Staxx BBQ and an as-yet-unnamed restaurant opening soon next door to Staxx. (Dan’s sons also work with him.) It was a tough decision for Dan — he studied journalism, loves and knows it well. But who can blame him for placing family first.

We wish Dan nothing but the best in his restaurant business. We’ve enjoyed eating at Staxx and look forward to the new place opening.

My move, for the first time in its history, opened the Spectrum editor position. We looked for someone to fill that spot who has deep roots in the community and an interest in what Spectrum is — all the news that doesn’t usually make the front page of the paper.

We found that person in Susan Moore ( Susan and her husband, Rob, have lived in Frankfort since the late 1980s. They’ve raised their children here, and Rob, an attorney with Hazelrigg and Cox, is also attorney for the City of Frankfort. Susan holds a degree in journalism from the University of Kentucky.

Susan will pick up where I’m leaving off with Spectrum — if I can ever entirely leave Spectrum. The section will continue to feature all the items you know — including my Planting by the Signs column — as Susan works across time to bring her own personality to the pages.

Newsroom alignment

We have familiar names in new positions and some new folks that have signed on.

Katheran Wasson left for a job in Lexington and Shannon Brock ( moved from assistant to news editor. Shannon was an intern here in 2007 and returned about six months ago from her post as editor of The Spencer Magnet. She’s well qualified for the position.

Hannah Reel Brown (, who you know as a photographer, applied for Shannon’s vacated job as assistant news editor. She’s made the move and is learning her new duties while still taking pictures.

Also working in the designing of the newspaper is design editor Chase Sewell (

Hannah’s move created an opening in photography and Bobby Ellis ( comes Monday to fill that vacancy. He joins former college classmate and photographer Dylan Buell (

John Minor ( came to fill an opening in sports when Nate Parsons left to continue his education to become an elementary school teacher. John previously worked in Indiana and is from Union County. Linda Younkin ( remains the rock of our sports section, a veteran of nearly 33 years here.

The news staff consists of senior reporter Kevin Wheatley (, Kristina Belcher (, Seth Littrell ( and Brad Bowman (, who is a nephew of the late Todd Duvall, longtime opinion page editor and editorial writer.

Kay Harrod, a local fixture, continues her popular food columns and other features. Brian Rickerd, who’s been with us in one capacity or another for 30 years, provides coverage of University of Kentucky and local sports, and Morgan Eads is our intern this summer.

Call or email these folks with story ideas, suggestions and tips. And, of course, you can always call or email me ( or publisher Ann Dix Maenza ( The phone number here is 502-227-4556.

In the future I also plan to write about other departments and the people who work in them, including the front office, advertising, composing and circulation. We want you to know us so that we can serve you better. There are many more involved in bringing a newspaper to you than those who write the stories and take the pictures.

Your input

It has always been my intent in Spectrum to make this an interactive venture for this to truly be Your Hometown Newspaper, and that is my goal now as editor. My wife and I have lived in Frankfort for 45 years, we raised our children here, so this is our hometown just as it is yours whether you’ve been here 100 years or six months.

Across the decades this industry has evolved — and I’ve been around for all those changes — from one where we told you what you wanted to read to one where you certainly have a viable voice in telling us.

A little thing called the Internet changed the way we do business and, I believe, made us more “user friendly.”

We want to know what we can do to put The State Journal in the hands of everyone in this town, as a “hard copy” or online, and both would be preferable. We want to be your source for local news, sports, opinion, features — if it’s local, we want it.

If you submit something for publication, as Ann is fond of pointing out, it’s not if we will find a place for it in the newspaper, it’s rather a matter of where it will be published.

Our emphasis — our life if you will — is local news, sports and features. We will transition from long world and national stories to two- or three-paragraph roundups giving you an “at a glance” look at what’s going on around the globe unless, of course, the issue demands more space. Same with state news.

This keeps us well rounded and you informed.

My email address and phone number are listed above. I’ve already had some visits with readers who came with lists and ideas, and I want to hear from you. Call or email and let’s set up a time to meet and talk.

The Dix family privately owns this newspaper, but for it to be viable and useful we want you our readers to feel you have “ownership,” too.

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  • I get called a douche bag for pointing out the obvious...TOPIX!

  • Agree, curious.  The S-J seems like another version of "Topix" lately.


    Mr. Case, I hope the State-Journal works toward being more "proactive" with stories.  If the paper is supposed to be community-building, do not lock important stories about criminals at-large, boil water advisories, missing persons or major traffic impacts, and go the extra step of sharing these via social networks.  Those are the types of stories everyone needs to know for the good of the community.

  • curious, I suspect that these hate-mongers will crucify you for calling attention to the fact that they simply have nothing better to say.  "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." - Eleanor Roosevelt 

  • curious...AMEN !!!!!

  • Once again, I make my request for full color Sunday comics. I think that my grandchildren would really enjoy them.  I know I would.

  • Why do some of you regular posters to the S-J always make your comments personal toward other commenters?  Stick with the issue and don't make it so much about commenting on other commenters.


    I have the same issue/concern for the letters to the editor lately - seems the paper runs too many where subsequent letter-writers are commenting on previous letter-writers by name and direct to them personally, rather than commenting on whatever issue the original letter-write broached.  It is bordering on hate-mongering and I urge the editors at The State-Journal to delete references to individuals in follow-up letters.  The way is it's currently being handled, the paper is becomming a vehicle for vitriol and crusades against individuals offering their own opinions via letters to the editor.  It's going to discourage many people from offering letters on topics if S-J encourages letter submission to open them up to hate-mongers who lash out at them individually, rather than commenting on the topic the individual has raised.


    Just my two-cents' worth....

  • You boys are sooooo witty!  5th grade humor...who knew?  

  • "So Bruno, were you always a douche bag or did you have to work at it?" 

    Shall we compare him to a summer's eve or just call him a douche?

  • Poor Bruno, boo hoo!!!!!!!!!

  • "s*m*u*t* peddling"


    need4speed, July 6, 2014 9:09AM

    "So Bruno, were you always a douche bag or did you have to work at it?" 

    *** that your best snappy come Viet Nam vet impersonator! ;-)


  • So Bruno, were you always a douche bag or did you have to work at it?

  • We hope that Mr. Case will elelvate this paper above the level of a **** peddling, checkout-line tabloid that has permeated its pages in recent years, and actually do some investigative reporting. For whatever reason, this salacious reporting on the seamy side of life with a concentration on vice and drug possession and/or anything to do with basic bodily functions seem to be the headline grabbers these days.  Does this really sell more papers? I mean, we are the capital city of the state so surely we can do better than this...but it is going to take something besides merely copying down the police blotters.  This is going to take an actual investigative reporter that is not afraid to ask follow-up questions...ever heard of 'em?  

    Who was the last investigative reporter at this newspaper?  Was it Dave Baker, the mulitple award winning investigative reporter who covered state government, local governments, crime, courts and breaking news from 1990 - 2000?  Mr. Baker now oversees all aspects of the production of Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.  I think that it was.


  • Good information, Hard to belive I have known ypu for 45 years.