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Sheila Rayam Is Named Executive Editor of The Buffalo News

A Black girl is taking the helm of Buffalo’s every day newspaper as town nonetheless grieves the racist grocery store bloodbath that shocked town this yr simply as its economic system and inhabitants confirmed indicators of recovering from many years of financial decline.

An govt with Gannett Newspapers, Sheila Rayam, 55, was named the manager editor of The Buffalo News, the newspaper introduced on Tuesday. She is the primary Black journalist and the second girl to carry the place within the paper’s 142-year historical past. The News was bought in 2020 by Lee Enterprises from its longtime proprietor, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

“I went to varsity in Buffalo, and I’ve all the time thought-about town type of my second residence,” Ms. Rayam stated of town in Western New York, maybe finest identified to the remainder of the nation for its division-winning NFL workforce, its headline-grabbing snowfall information and, of course, its wings.

Ms. Rayam stated that she was excited to work in a newsroom of veterans with a “sturdy fame for excellent journalism.” Her appointment, efficient Aug. 22, adopted the retirement of Mike Connelly, a veteran journalist who was editor of The News for a decade.

It additionally got here months after the May 14 mass capturing on the Tops Friendly Market in a predominantly Black neighborhood of East Buffalo. An 18-year-old white gunman espousing a white supremacist ideology was charged within the capturing, which left 10 useless and three injured, nearly all of them Black, in a single of the deadliest racist massacres in latest American historical past.

The assault has left town reeling.

“Looking from afar, I used to be heartbroken,” Ms. Rayam stated, including that town was nonetheless therapeutic. “But I’m hopeful that we’ll be half of a dialogue that helps the group to develop collectively, and develop stronger.”

In her new position as govt editor, Ms. Rayam stated, she deliberate to proceed main the paper to cowl town in its entirety. “We’re going to have a look at every part from meals insecurity, to public security, to how residents are supporting one another.”

The News, with a print circulation of about 56,000, is among the many largest within the state outdoors of the New York City space, however like many different medium-sized regional papers, it was ravaged by the pandemic, and needed to impose pay cuts and furlough employees.

Margaret Sullivan, the media columnist for The Washington Post, who was additionally The News’s first high feminine editor earlier than a stint as public editor of The New York Times, described The News as a “dominant pressure” that continued to do important public service and watchdog journalism.

“I used to be definitely thrilled to see that Sheila’s appointment would make historical past,” Ms. Sullivan stated in an interview. “It’s good to see.”

In the announcement, Tom Wiley, the president and writer of The Buffalo News, stated he was proud that Ms. Rayam would function its eighth editor, and that she would assist lead the group “into an thrilling future.” Currently, Ms. Rayam, who’s from Rochester, about 70 miles northeast of Buffalo, is Gannett’s govt editor of Mohawk Valley information operations, which incorporates The Utica Observer-Dispatch and The Times Telegram in Herkimer.

She has additionally labored at The Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, and is a graduate of The State University of New York in Buffalo.

Ms. Rayam stated she was most trying ahead to working with journalists who have been “keen about serving their group; about telling nice tales.”

And, she stated, she was excited to be nearer to the Buffalo Bills. “I’m an enormous Bills fan.”

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