Longtime KC Star Editorial Board Member Lewis Diuguid Stepping Down
And then there was one.
Lewis Diuguid, a longtime member of The Kansas City Star’s editorial board, will be departing the paper along with veteran Yael Abouhalkah, who was laid off this week.
Diuguid has told friends that he intends to step down on Oct. 7, Abouhalkah’s last day at The Star.
Technically, that would leave The Star’s editorial board with only one member: newly minted publisher Tony Berg.
Star publishers, however, rarely write editorials – although they do have final say over what is published.
In a brief telephone interview, Diuguid declined to confirm that he’s leaving, saying only that “We’ll have to see how things play out after Oct. 7, which is Yael’s last day.”
He referred questions to Berg, who did not return a phone call.
The news Monday that Berg had given Abouhalkah his walking papers set off a barrage of reactions, both positive and negative, among The Star’s readers. Abouhalkah, long one of the newspaper’s most public faces, was also one of its most controversial.
In recent years, he trained his fire on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and his tax-cut policies, which have led to huge revenue shortfalls in the state.
Berg has made it known that he’s looking to take the editorial page in a more conservative direction, which may have left little room for Abouhalkah and Diuguid, both liberals.
Berg recently hired Colleen McCain Nelson, a reporter with The Wall Street Journal, to oversee The Star’s editorial page. Nelson assumes her duties after the November elections.
The position had been vacant since Steve Paul, another longtime employee of The Star, accepted a buyout in March.
Nelson, a graduate of the University of Kansas, previously worked at the Wichita Eagle, Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Dallas Morning News, where she was a member of a team that received the Pulitzer Prize for its editorials on social and economic disparities in Dallas.
Diuguid, 61, is one of the few African Americans at The Star and the only one on the editorial board, which he joined in 1999.
He began his career at the paper in 1977 and held a variety of positions there, including reporter and copy editor. He became bureau chief of what was then the newspaper’s Southland bureau in 1987 and then a columnist. His columns focused mainly on race relations, diversity and education.
He was also The Star’s vice president of community services and was a champion of newsroom diversity.
He is a founding member of the Kansas City Association of Black Journalists and last year was recognized by the National Association of Black Journalists with its Angelo B. Henderson Community Service Award.
Dan Margolies, editor of the Heartland Health Monitor team, is based at KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.