Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Retired, award-winning editor and Gish Award nominee Kathy Spurlock dies; led several papers in La. and Miss.

Kathy Spurlock
Award-winning editor Kathy Spurlock, 67, passed away Sept. 10 at her Monroe, La., home after a long illness.

Spurlock worked two stretches at the Monroe News-Star, including 21 years as the paper's top editor before retiring in 2016, Greg Hilburn reports for the News-Star. On Facebook, many of Spurlock's former Gannett Co. colleagues praised her as an outstanding community journalist.

But even retirement didn't take her far from the newsroom, said Barbara Leader, whom Spurlock mentored and who is now the top Louisiana editor for Gannett: "Long after she retired from The News-Star, she stayed involved in our work. Always a journalist, she sent us news tips through social media, texts and phone calls. She will be greatly missed," Leader told Hilburn.

Spurlock began her career at The News-Star and the former Monroe Morning World after graduating from Louisiana Tech University in 1975, Hilburn reports. After editing stints at the Louisiana Suburban Press and the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, Spurlock served as metro editor and eventually publisher of weeklies and new ventures at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., then returned to The News-Star in 1995 as executive editor. In 2014 she also began serving as the paper's general manager.

"Under Spurlock's tenure, the news department was transformed from a once-daily print publication to a multiplatform digital and print information center," Hilburn reports. "The News-Star was recognized locally, regionally and nationally for its freedom of information, investigative reporting, commentary, innovation, economic development, public service and community service work under her leadership. She also was an award-winning writer for editorial commentary and columns."

Spurlock was nominated for the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues' Tom and Pat Gish Award for courage, integrity and tenacity in rural journalism.

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