Jeff Taylor, the top editor of the Indianapolis Star, will leave the newspaper in April to become executive editor for news at USA Today, the newspapers announced Wednesday.
Taylor, 56, served as Midwest regional editor for the USA Today Network and vice president for news at the Star. He replaced Dennis Ryerson as editor of the Star in 2012 when Ryerson retired, after working as senior managing editor at the Detroit Free Press for several years.
“I loved working at the Star and living in Indy, and it was not some place I was necessarily looking to leave anytime soon,” Taylor told IBJ on Wednesday afternoon.
He said his new opportunity was an “appealing and interesting challenge.” The job will involve "building on USA Today's legacy and building up the national news network that we have with all the properties across the company.”
Taylor is a Pulitzer Prize winner, who recently oversaw the Star’s lauded USA Gymnastics investigation that revealed sexual abuse and child molestation perpetrated by Dr. Larry Nassar.
He told IBJ that the USA Gymnastics investigation was the “high point” of his time in Indianapolis because “we had a really meaningful impact nationally on the conversation around sexual assault and harassment.”
Another key moment for the Star during Taylor’s tenure was the decision at the height of the debate over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to run a front-page, above-the-fold editorial calling for Indiana lawmakers to change the law, with the blaring headline “FIX THIS NOW.”
“I am really proud of the work we did around civil rights issues, with RFRA, and our position from an editorial-page standpoint that we have pressed for equal rights for everyone, across the board,” Taylor said.
Taylor began his career in 1985 as a reporter at The Kansas City Star, where he and fellow reporter Mike McGraw won a Pulitzer in 1991 for a series of stories on the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Succeeding Taylor at the Star is Ronnie Ramos, who will serve as executive editor. Ramos, a Cuban-American, joined the company in 2013 as sports director, and he was subsequently promoted to managing director. He previously worked at as the managing director of digital communications for the NCAA, which is based in Indianapolis.
The Star also announced it hired Ginger Rough to oversee digital operations, breaking news and entertainment.