Bill McEwen, a 32-year veteran of The Fresno Bee newsroom and The Bee's metro columnist for the past 10 years, will become the editorial page editor for the newspaper starting Monday.
His appointment was announced Wednesday by incoming Executive Editor Jim Boren, whom McEwen succeeds as editorial page editor. "Bill knows the San Joaquin Valley as well as anyone and has written about it in a very passionate and compelling way," Boren said, "and he will bring that passion to the editorial pages."
"I'm honored and thankful for the opportunity," McEwen said. "Clearly these are big shoes to fill because Jim Boren is so well-regarded in the community and the state for his knowledge of political issues."
McEwen, 59, has also been a sports writer, sports columnist, sports editor and a city hall reporter covering local government and politics. He has reported from Hmong refugee camps in Thailand, Gulf Coast communities torn by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the Los Angeles Olympics. His reporting and writing have been recognized by the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the Associated Press News Executive Council and the Associated Press Sports Editors.
McEwen, an active powerlifter who is a national and world champion in his age group, "will be the strongest editorial page editor we've ever had," Boren added with a chuckle.
As a columnist, McEwen is no stranger to sharing his opinions. In his new role, however, he will be just one vote on The Bee's editorial board that decides the newspaper's formal position on issues. He will also write columns for the opinion page.
Boren said McEwen will be responsible for "providing access for vigorous letters to the editor and opinion pages that reflect every philosophical voice" in the central San Joaquin Valley, including the selection of syndicated columns and Valley Voice contributions.
McEwen said he wants The Bee's opinion pages "to be regarded as the Valley's meeting place for discussion of issues that affect everyone here." And he offered a hint for would-be letter writers:
"Whether people are submitting work for Valley Voices or writing a letter, the odds for publication increase when their subject is a local issue and when they bring a new perspective."