Bruce Winges is retiring as editor of the Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com, and Michael Shearer will be the new editor.
Beacon Journal Publisher Bill Albrecht made that announcement Monday, saying that Winges has led the newsroom during difficult times and Shearer “brings high journalistic standards and proven leadership — particularly in coordinating coverage across the region and enhancing the online delivery of news.”
Shearer, 49, has served the past two years as the editor and general manager of The Record-Courier in Kent. At the same time, he also has served as northeastern Ohio regional editor for GateHouse Media, which purchased the Beacon Journal from Black Press last year.
Winges, 64, is retiring on March 1 after more than 11 years as editor and 37 years at the newspaper, including a variety of editing positions and time on the business side of the company.
“Bruce led the newsroom through some challenging times and transitions, and we are grateful for his service to the Beacon Journal, Akron and northeastern Ohio,” Albrecht said. “He is a fair-minded, community-oriented journalist who has dedicated himself to telling the unvarnished truth. He pulled no punches but sought only the best for Akron and this region.”
Winges became vice president and editor of the Beacon Journal in 2007. Prior to that, he served as deputy managing editor. He has held a number of positions at the Beacon Journal since 1982, including executive news editor, assistant managing editor for technology and night managing editor. He also has been involved in Akron-area civic groups and journalism organizations such as the Ohio News Media Association.
Shearer has been an editor in Ohio for more than 24 years, starting in 1994 in Middletown, in southwestern Ohio. He gained valuable experience leading a regional group of newsrooms while serving as executive editor of the Media Network of Central Ohio, a group of 10 daily Gannett Co. media sites, from 2009 to 2016. He also served as editor of The Advocate in Newark from 2000 to 2016. Before going to Newark, Shearer served as city editor at the Mansfield News Journal and the Middletown Journal.
In his new role as editor of the Beacon Journal, Shearer will continue to lead the regional network of GateHouse Media newsrooms in eight northeastern Ohio communities — Akron, Alliance, Ashland, Canton, Kent, Massillon, New Philadelphia and Wooster — as well as the newsroom in Cambridge.
“Mike brings a sense of urgency to our newsgathering operation, and he understands the importance of maintaining a strong print product while also addressing the needs of an audience that increasingly seeks news via mobile devices,” Albrecht said.
Shearer, who graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, has led newsrooms that have won numerous statewide awards.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead an incredibly talented staff of journalists who care deeply about their work and community they serve,” Shearer said. “Working smartly with our colleagues across Ohio, we have a tremendous opportunity to further improve our content on all platforms.”
Shearer and his wife, Greta, live in Kent and have two sons, Ryan, a college senior, and Kyle, a high school senior.
Since Winges became editor in 2007, the Beacon Journal has been named the best newspaper in Ohio by both the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists and the Press Club of Cleveland. The staff also won the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.
“I am fortunate to have spent 37 years at the Beacon Journal and proud of the journalism we have produced,” Winges said. “We have told the story of Akron well and will continue to do so in the future.”
Winges is president of the Akron Press Club. He is treasurer of the Ohio News Media Association, and serves on Ohio Coalition for Open Government board and the Professional Advisory Board for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University.
Winges also is on the board of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Photographic Society.