Two new faces are leading the Gazette newsroom beginning this week.
Paul Rowan, whose career with the paper includes two separate stints that began in 1984, assumed the role of managing editor.
Will DeShong, a staff reporter since 2017, takes on the role of associate editor.
“This may be the easiest appointment that I have ever made,” said Joe Beegle, Gazette publisher. “I am excited for Paul, his newsroom and the readers of the Bedford Gazette.
“Paul and I go back 40 years to our beginning days at The Bedford County Press/Shoppers Guide. His commitment to Bedford County news coverage is second to none. Paul always looks for the full story and finds the good in people. The news gathering/reporting training he provides will benefit the newsroom and our readers.”
“I’m excited to be back (at the Gazette), and grateful to Joe and to the Sample News Group for giving me the opportunity,” Rowan said.
He began his career in 1981 as assistant editor of the Tyrone Daily Herald (now a part of the Sample News Group), and became editor after just three months.
He worked for a year at the Bedford County Press/Shopper’s Guide, then based in Everett, before becoming Gazette sports editor in 1984. During his time in sports he received a number of Pennsylvania Newspaper Publishing Association awards for feature writing, column writing and photography, and was also a recipient of the Media Award from the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches’ Association.
He joined the newsroom staff as copy editor in 1993, and took part in the Gazette’s coverage of events such as the 1996 Flood and the United Airlines Flight 93 crash in Somerset County on Sept. 11, 2001.
He was a copy editor at the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat from 2002 until he returned to the Gazette in February 2018 as copy editor.
“I’m lucky to be leading some terrific young reporters in Will and Katie (Smolen),” Rowan said. “I’ve had some great mentors during my career — Ned Frear, the late Bill Clark and Sharyn Maust here, and people like Dave Levine and the late Mike Elswick and Sean Roane at the Trib — and that’s what I hope to be for our staff.”
Rowan envisions few immediate changes.
“The industry is changing, and we inevitably will have to change with it,” he said. “But one thing that is not going to change is our commitment to community journalism.”
DeShong is a graduate of Slippery Rock University, where he majored in journalism and served as the editor of the university newspaper. He previously worked as the city reporter for the Butler Eagle in Butler County.
“It was always our intent that Will would take a leadership role in the Gazette newsroom. His day-to-day work ethic is solid, which goes hand-in-hand with his ability to ask the tough questions,” Beegle said.
DeShong primarily covers court, county government, Bedford Borough and the Bedford and Everett school districts.
He was among Gazette staff writers who shared a 2018 Pennsylvania Media Association award for their coverage of the 2017 CSX derailment in Hyndman.
“This is an exciting time in the Gazette newsroom and equally excited to have Will assist Paul with quality responsible local Bedford County news coverage,” Beegle said.