Eric Larsen named Coloradoan's top editor – The Coloradoan

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Coloradoan Executive Editor Lauren Gustus named editor of Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

A key newsroom leader at the Fort Collins Coloradoan is taking over as top editor to replace outgoing Executive Editor Lauren Gustus.

Eric Larsen, 37, a supervisor at the Coloradoan for five years, will be promoted to news director, it was announced Wednesday.

In his role as a content strategist, Larsen supervised watchdog reporters and coaches of other reporters. He previously served as senior editor for content, directing watchdog and breaking news reporters, and editor for government and growth.

“It’s an incredible blessing to have this opportunity in Fort Collins, and with the Coloradoan,” Larsen said. “This team and this city have meant so much to me. I met my wife, Megan, here, and our daughter, Libby, was born at Poudre Valley Hospital in February. The opportunity to lead this talented team of journalists in such a vibrant community is more than I could ask for.”

Gustus, 36, who has served as top editor since 2014, will move to a position as the new editor of the Fort Worth, Texas, Star-Telegram.

Kathy Jack-Romero, president of the Coloradoan, praised both journalists. She noted that Larsen has led the Coloradoan’s political and election-related coverage for five years and called him a leader who wants to be a part of creating change and giving back to the community.

“Eric has led our news team to tackle important community topics like Pat Ferrier’s coverage of Northern Colorado’s growing housing crisis, aging in Larimer County and an upcoming deep look at the cuts to school funding in Northern Colorado,” she said.

Jack-Romero also described Larsen as passionate about the Coloradoan’s First Class program, which recognizes and provides scholarships to local high school students who will be the first in their families to attend college.

Larsen is a graduate of Oregon State University and worked at the Times-News in Twin Falls, Idaho, before joining the Coloradoan.

Larsen will report to Carol Hunter, Plains regional editor for the USA TODAY Network, of which the Coloradoan is a part.

“I’m pleased to promote from within for the top newsroom position,” Hunter said. “Eric knows the key issues and players in Northern Colorado. He’ll build on Lauren’s strong watchdog work in holding powerful institutions accountable to the public.”

Under Gustus’ leadership, the Coloradoan was honored as the best newspaper in its class at the Colorado Press Association’s annual meeting in April. Gustus also helped lead efforts to modernize Colorado’s open records law to mandate that digital records be released in a digital format.

“Lauren is sharp, inquisitive and never settles for good enough,” Jack-Romero said. “ She’s challenged our team to engage readers beyond the printed word. She’s introduced podcasts, in-person engagement opportunities with the Coloradoan’s Storytellers Series and our monthly Brews and News gatherings. “She’s led countless forums and panels on topics ranging from housing availability and bike safety to local political races. She’s made us better and relevant to a much larger audience than we enjoyed in the past.”

Larsen said his top priorities include continuing the Coloradoan’s long history of innovation as a media organization, growing digital audience and leading important community discussions.

The Coloradoan is a company leader in video production and in percentage of digital subscriptions. One of its recent innovations was creating Elexi, a Facebook Messenger bot that used artificial intelligence to answer voters’ questions to help them become better informed ahead of the November 2016 Election.

“Fort Collins is home to a pioneering spirit and an impressive history of innovation. The Coloradoan must, and will, reflect and emulate those traits,” Larsen said. “We’ll continue to experiment with new and better ways to inform our community while staying true to the core values of journalistic integrity and public service that have defined the Coloradoan’s more than 140 years in Fort Collins.”

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