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Published: Tuesday, 12/15/2009

Blade publisher announces newsroom appointments

BLADE STAFF

John Robinson Block, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Blade, Tuesday announced three executive appointments and the retirement of Ron Royhab, The Blade's vice president and executive editor.

David Kushma joins The Blade as editor. Managing editor Kurt Franck has been promoted to executive editor. Dave Murray, special assignments editor, was promoted to managing editor.

Mr. Block announced the appointments in a packed newsroom.

"We have great people going forward," he told the newspaper's staff. "This is a proud newspaper and I obviously want to leave you all with the sense that we have our future ahead of us.

"The Blade is the oldest continuous business in Toledo. Toledo is going through a difficult moment, but I am confident that Toledo will revive and The Blade will revive."

All appointments are effective on Jan. 1, 2010.

Mr. Kushma, 55, replaces Tom Walton, who retired in 2007. David Shutt, editorial director, also is retiring at the end of the year.

Mr. Kushma joins The Blade after serving as editorial page editor of the Commercial Appeal in Memphis and associate editor at the Detroit Free Press. Most recently he ran his own communications company in the Detroit area. Before that, he was a senior editor at Automotive News.

Mr. Franck, 53, joined The Blade in 2000 as managing editor after 16 years in a variety of editing positions at the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Prior to that, Mr. Franck spent six years with United Press International, working in bureaus in Columbus, Atlanta, Birmingham, Ala., Orlando, Fla., the Kennedy Space Center, and Miami.

Mr. Murray, 54, has worked at The Blade for more than 30 years, first as a reporter, then as city editor before becoming special assignments editor. Mr. Murray has edited numerous award-winning stories, including The Blade's 2003 Pulitzer Prize winning series on unreported atrocities during the Vietnam War, and two Pulitizer finalists — an investigation in 1999 into the American beryllium industry and The Blade's 2005 "Coingate" coverage.

Mr. Royhab's journalism career spanned more than 40 years. He spent 25 years with Scripps Howard Newspapers in various reporting and editing positions, including chief of the Columbus Bureau, and assistant managing editor of Scripps Howard's Washington bureau before joining The Blade in 1993. He was promoted to executive editor of The Blade in 1997, and became a vice president in 2004.

During his tenure at The Blade, the newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for investigative reporting and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2000 and 2006.

Mr. Royhab, 67, received the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award from the National Press Foundation in 2005. Mr. Bradlee, now retired, was vice president and executive editor of the Washington Post when that newspaper broke open the Watergate scandal and brought down the Nixon Administration.

"It has been an honor for me to lead The Blade's newsroom for the past 16 years," said Mr. Royhab, "I was fortunate to have worked with such a terrific staff of journalists during my time here."

Of his retirement, he said, "I'm sad and I'm glad, but at this moment, I am more sad than glad."


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