oel Christopher, executive editor of the Courier Journal in Louisville, will take the helm of Knoxville News Sentinel in February as executive editor.
In Louisville, Christopher led one of the best newsrooms in Kentucky, a 10-time Pulitzer winner.
“When you look at the Knoxville newsroom you see there’s such a rich legacy and strong investigative journalism,” said Christopher, 47, who will begin his new role on Feb. 4. “Add in the fact that we are part of a very strong Tennessee network … that’s exciting from a news perspective and an audience perspective because of the extra power that goes into important journalism efforts and big breaking news.”
Christopher described his new role in Knoxville as a liaison between the newsroom and the community on all levels. “It’s vital that an executive editor really forges the deepest possible connections he or she can with the community.”
Christopher will replace Jack McElroy, who is retiring on Feb. 1 after a 43-year journalism career and 17 years as top editor in Knoxville.
Christopher said he will be accessible and hold conversations to highlight what residents care about and how the newsroom can address the problems they see in their communities.
Self-described as “not an office guy,” Christopher said he plans to be in the “thick of it all” with a seat at the center of the Knoxville newsroom, a two-time winner of the nation’s top award for fighting for an open government and the eastern flagship of USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee.