SOUTHERN INDIANA — Hopkinsville, Ky., native Daniel Suddeath has taken a circular path to the editor’s chair at the News and Tribune.
Suddeath has been chosen to succeed Editor Susan Duncan, who is retiring. He is currently the newspaper’s senior reporter, but his is a name familiar to readers, as he first came to Southern Indiana in 2008.
A 2005 University of Kentucky graduate who majored in journalism and minored in English, Suddeath began his newspaper career in Portland, Tenn., where he was hired as a reporter and later promoted to editor.
He joined the News and Tribune in January 2008, where he worked as a reporter until 2015. That’s when Publisher Bill Hanson recognized Suddeath’s leadership abilities.
“I wanted to challenge him to get to the next level and the editor’s job in Glasgow came open about the same time,” said Hanson, who also served as publisher at the Glasgow (Ky.) Daily Times.
Suddeath spent five years as the editor there before rejoining the News and Tribune in May 2020.
After Duncan advised of her pending retirement, Hanson and CNHI, owner of the News and Tribune, undertook a nationwide search for a replacement.
“The goal here has always been to commit to excellence and hire the best editor we can find,” Hanson said. “At the end of the day, Daniel’s consistency, his knowledge of the market, his reporting ability and his passion for journalism made him the right fit.
“He gets the role of a newspaper person,” Hanson said of Suddeath. “He knows what it takes to be good at what we do, and that comes from his upbringing. He was taught at a young age how to work hard.”
The publisher selected Suddeath as editor, in part, because of his extensive knowledge of Southern Indiana and the issues important to the region.
“Knowledge is power, and that’s one of Daniel’s top strengths,” Hanson said. “He knows people who are newsmakers, and having that vast little black book, if you will, gave him a leg up on anyone who applied for the job.”
For his part, Suddeath expressed gratitude at being tapped as the editor.
“I am thankful for this opportunity,” he said. “I remember my first day in January 2008 as a young reporter and I never imagined I would be the editor. Credit goes to co-workers past and present, the editors I’ve had … and the readers, who we all work for.”
Hanson noted the outgoing and incoming editors bring different skill sets to the job — he described Suddeath as a workhorse and Duncan a tactician — but that “both served us well here.”
“What I will miss most about Susan is she is one of the best editors I’ve ever worked with,” the publisher said. “Her ability to paint pictures with words is as good as anyone I’ve seen.
“It was a great privilege when [I was] asked to proofread her content,” he said. “I made it a habit of trying to find one thing to improve on, and it seldom happened.”
As he moves into the editor’s role, Suddeath said he intends to write more columns and editorials while helping out on coverage, when needed.
“It’s critically important to bring attention to issues,” he said, emphasizing that “news stories affect opinions, but opinions don’t affect news coverage.”
Suddeath’s ascension to the top role opened a reporting position at the newspaper, which already has been filled by a new staff member who starts in early August.
In addition, six-year reporter Aprile Rickert now carries the title of senior reporter, and with it leadership responsibilities.
“Aprile is a fantastic reporter who is well-known and has great sources,” Suddeath said. “She can help other reporters and share her experience with them.”
Of his staff, Suddeath said, “I feel the staff here is top-notch, well-trained, and I expect to continue the history of excellence.”
He also referenced Southern Indiana as a “dynamic” area with a lot going on, and touted the importance of having a community newspaper.
Suddeath said, “Without a local newspaper there would be very little oversight of government entities. Without sports [coverage], high schools and athletes wouldn’t get the attention they deserve. Without a local newspaper you wouldn’t have all the tidbits about the local community, obits, the community calendar … you’d have to find another resource.”
Outside the newspaper, Suddeath said he enjoys reading, including who-done-it crime novels, something he picked up from his dad, as well as historical fiction, biographies and more. He lists Cormac McCarthy among his favorite contemporary authors.
He also enjoys playing golf and basketball, something he has coached at the elementary school level and hopes to do again. In addition, he spends time with his two cats — Daisy Lane and Matilda — who he says “run my life.”
Suddeath takes over as the editor of the newspaper on Friday, when he’ll become the third editor of the News and Tribune since the merger of the Jeffersonville Evening News and the New Albany Tribune in 2011.
He will work out of both the New Albany and Jeffersonville offices and said it’s best to contact him by email at email@example.com.