Black editor who took over Alabama paper after KKK editorial brouhaha resigns – Washington Examiner
A black journalist who took the top job at an Alabama-based newspaper where the previous leadership ran an editorial advocating for the Klu Klux Klan to “ride again” has resigned, just weeks after becoming managing editor.
Elecia Dexter became managing editor of the Democrat-Reporter after its previous editor published the controversial op-ed, the New York Times reported. She was tasked with making the paper a more accurate reflection of the small town’s demographic. Linden, Ala., is roughly 59 percent white and 41 percent black, according to the latest census numbers.
Dexter, who worked at the paper as an office clerk and didn’t have any journalism experience, was initially excited for the opportunity to take the paper in a new direction.
But Goodloe Sutton, her 80-year-old predecessor, still owns the paper, which has been run by his family for decades. His interference, she said, often undermined her editorial authority and her ability to change the paper’s direction.
Stepping down, she said, maintains her dignity and integrity.
“You can be mad at him, but we can’t keep making this about him,” the 46-year-old said. “People like him will exist. That’s just the reality of life.”
In one instance, Dexter said, Sutton emailed local news stations an alternative version of the paper’s Feb. 28 publication he had edited. In his version, the cover story was a piece defending the controversial editorial about the Ku Klux Klan and criticizing the “fake news” media for what he perceived was unfair coverage of the editorial.
In an interview Friday, Linden Mayor Charles Moore said the paper and Sutton himself have done a lot to exacerbate racial tensions throughout the community.
“I would like to see them fade out, I mean, really, he’s been in the position over the years that he could’ve done a lot of good stuff here in Marengo County,” said Moore.
He’s not the only one who sees the missed opportunity.
“I would have liked it to turn out a different way, but it didn’t,” said Dexter. “This is a hard one because it’s sad — so much good could have come out of this.”