Terry Eberle, one of the good guys

Dateline: Mon 07 Jul 2008

Last week various media outlets reported that former Star exec editor Terry Eberle has again landed on his feet. Eberle is leaving Florida Today to return to the News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla.

Eberle, according to the News-Press, "said he would focus on watchdog journalism, enterprise stories, urgency and innovation.

"Eberle has been named editor of the year for Gannett twice and finished as runner up twice as well. While with Florida Today, he led the paper to Gannett's paper of the year in 2006. Each of the last four years Florida Today has beeen recognized as one of Gannett's top five newspapers."

Eberle was at the Star from 2001-03. Compared to current exec editor Dennis Ryerson, Eberle was respected. His dry wit kept people on their toes.

But as most readers of this blog know, he was driven out by lame-duck Star publisher Barbara Henry. In a February 2004 article in American Journalism Review, contributing writer Lori Robertson wrote:

"A number of staffers say it was clear that Eberle and Publisher Barbara Henry did not see eye to eye. When I asked Henry what Eberle's contribution to the Star was, she mentioned stories that uncovered a legislative slush fund in the state government that were written under his watch, and then added: 'He came from Florida and decided to go back to Florida.' Eberle did not return calls seeking comment."

The point? Eberle was a good editor and he has thrived in his Florida assignments, as he did in Indy. The problem in Indy has been publisher Barbara Henry, who has pushed staffers out the door, including top editors, and has been, at times, irrational and emotional in her decision-making process, according to those who have seen her in action.

So Florida's gain has been the Star's loss. And now Herny is out. Can Ryerson be far behind?

Best of luck to Eberle. Sometimes, good guys do finish first....

(And for those who wish to link to the AJR piece, here it is:)



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