Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Cedar Rapids Flood Marks Editor's First Week on the Job

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Cedar Rapids Flood Marks Editor's First Week on the Job

Article excerpt

In just his first four days on the job, Editor Steve Buttry of The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is overseeing what may be the most demanding story he will ever encounter at the paper.

With flooding that has devastated the town and surrounding counties, even forcing his newspaper to partially evacuate and run on generator power, the Gazette is covering what many call the flood that was not supposed to happen.

"I've covered Midwestern flooding before, but this is amazing," said Buttry, a former editor at The Des Moines Register and Omaha World-Herald. "It is incredible."

Prior to Tuesday, Buttry had been director of tailored programs at the American Press Institute. The 53-year-old took over as Gazette editor on Tuesday, just a day before the worst flooding hit the town. By Thursday morning, the Gazette had lost power to its newsroom and its adjoining television station.

"It is obviously difficult, but it is inspiring," said Buttry. "The teamwork and resourcefulness have been wonderful." Buttry says co-workers began teasing him about, "changing my mind, " or "wondering if I got in over my head." He laughs, declaring, "no, this is not going to deter me."

It's somewhat reminiscent of Howell Raines taking over as executive editor of The New York Times just days before 9/11.

When power went out, the paper switched to diesel generators, according to Publisher Dave Storey. …

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