Commercial Appeal names first black executive editor

Commercial Appeal names first black executive editor

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Commercial Appeal named its first black executive editor in the newspaper's 176-year history.

The USA Today Network said Mark Russell will now lead the Commercial Appeal newsroom in Memphis.

He served as managing editor beginning in 2013 and has worked previously in Orlando, Boston, and Cleveland.

Former Editor Louis Graham left last month to become executive editor of enterprise content at ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Russell, 54, has extensive experience and recognition in the field.

Under his leadership at The Orlando (Florida) Sentinel, the Sentinel was a Putlizer finalist in 2013 for coverage of the hazing death of a band member of the Florida A&M University. He also led the coverage of the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

"He's a proven and extraordinary newsroom leader," Michael Anastasi, vice-president of news for the USA Today Network, said. "He's an editor who literally could work in any city in America, but there's a reason he chose to be here - because he knows what The Commercial Appeal can be and what Memphis can be."

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