Mark Konradi, a nearly 26 year veteran of The Dallas Morning News, has been named the new executive editor of the Clarion Ledger and state editor for Mississippi for the USA TODAY Network, which will also have him oversee the Hattiesburg American.
Konradi, who most recently served as Director of Newsroom Operations for The Morning News, is a Dallas native and a 1989 graduate of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.
“I’m humbled and honored to have this position, and I’m really excited to get to Mississippi,” Konradi said as he was introduced to newsroom staff Wednesday afternoon in Jackson.
Konradi will be splitting his time between Dallas and Jackson for now, as he searches for a home in Mississippi and works to sell one in Texas. Konradi said he plans to reach out quickly to a number of local, state and civic leaders to build relationships with the community. Those include local mayors, councilmembers, university presidents, sports coaches, church leaders and others.
“I’m excited to get involved in this community: to engage, to listen, to learn,” Konradi said. “I like it here. I’m excited to engage.”
Konradi told staff his vision for the role of a modern news outlet.
“I do not think its an exaggeration to say our job, in this room, in various capacities, is to preserve democracy,” he said.
The new hire brought with him a number of new ideas for engaging with the community, which ranged from a deeper commitment to data to the possibility of utilizing TikTok and other emerging platforms.
“Decisions, in this era, are informed by data,” Konradi said. “We need to find ways to connect with people.”
Konradi is also committed to fostering diversity, both in the newsroom and within its coverage.
“If you exclude the demographics of the city then there’s no opportunity for growth,” Konradi said.
The announcement of a new editor comes six months after the departure of previous executive editor Marlon Walker, who departed for the non-profit The Marshall Project.
Michael Anastasi, USA TODAY Network regional editor for the South, introduced Konradi to the assembled staff. Anastasi said he was excited to welcome Konradi to the USA TODAY Network and to Mississippi, and he thanked Clarion Ledger Communities Editor Scott Hawkins for his work while the executive editor search was ongoing.
“We’re very excited to welcome someone of his skill to this team,” Anastasi said.
Prior to his role as Director of Newsroom Operations in Dallas, Konradi was deputy sports editor at The Morning News for more than a decade. Before that, he spent three years as the sports editor at the Arlington Morning News.
Konradi said he looks forward to making new relationships with those in the newsroom and the community.
“What I value most are my relationships, with my family and friends,” Konradi said. “One of the things that attracted me to this job is this is such an exciting time for Mississippi journalism.”