A Closer Look: Amalie Nash
Editor and vice president for audience engagement, The Des Moines Register
Friday, March 28, 2014 7:00 AM
Born and raised in Michigan, Amalie Nash got her start in newspapers by delivering them when she was 10 years old.
Hometown: Saline, Mich.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s degree in social sciences, Eastern Michigan University.
The Des Moines Register’s new editor started a class publication in middle school and after that, her desire to be “in the know” has never left her. She spent 11 years at the Ann Arbor News, where she was a police reporter for eight years before she became the online editor. Once the publication shuttered its print product to become AnnArbor.com, she was named news director. Two years later, she moved to the Detroit Free Press, where she was assistant managing editor for digital and state news.
“Journalism has always been something I’ve gravitated toward,” Nash said. “It seemed like a career path that I always wanted to take. ... I think I just always wanted to be the one who knew what was going on and could tell everyone what was going on.”
How did you learn about this opportunity at The Des Moines Register?
I met the Register’s now publisher, Rick Green, about 18 months ago. We were both involved in a project where we were assessing content and trying to take a closer look at what Gannett publications we were producing. I was teamed up with Rick, and we worked together for a few days assessing these sites. We got to know each other, and I was able to see some really high-quality work coming out of here and gain an understanding as to what a powerhouse the Register is in terms of its journalism and what it means to the community. We kept in touch, and when Rick was promoted, we started discussing the possibility. He was looking for someone with my skill set.
Why did you feel like it would be a good place for you?
The Register seemed like a place I could really fit in and where I could help the newsroom for the future. I came from a pretty enviable position at the Detroit Free Press. A lot of times when people are looking for a job, they want to get out of the job they are in. That wasn’t the case for me at all. I was happy at the Free Press – it’s a great news organization in a great town – but I was comfortable coming here. The Register has strong journalists and kind people, and it seemed like an opportunity I’d be crazy to pass up.
What strengths do you feel the Register has that you can build on now that you’re here?
The strength is always going to come down to the people. When you go down the line, it’s the top-notch journalists. The content is there, and we have such a great office designed to work for the future, so I think my background in digital media will be helpful as we position ourselves to look forward.
Do you have any short-term goals you hope to accomplish?
When I got here, it was to make sure we launched the More Project, which included the expansion of local reporting with the addition of USA Today. Another short-term goal is getting out into the community and meeting people. I have an institutional learning curve as I’m not from Iowa, which means I can’t sit in here and still understand what’s going on out there. I’m looking forward to meeting new people so I can understand the issues and what’s driving this community. I want to understand what readers want and tailor our content to that.
Do you have a long-term vision you want to work toward?
It will involve figuring out what the newsroom of the future needs to be. We have a lot more tools that we didn’t use to have, and we have this great newsroom so we need to find out if we’re positioned for future success. We need to know if there are areas we are neglecting and if we’re covering all the right things. We have to ask if we’re doing the best we can do, so the larger assessment will be figuring out where to take what we’re doing from here.
As a newcomer, what’s your overall impression of Des Moines?
I like it a lot. I’ve really enjoyed downtown, and I’m looking forward to getting out in some of the neighborhoods and suburbs. This is a nice city, and there is a lot to offer people here.
What else do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy running, so I’d like to find some running groups and get involved in something like that. There are certainly great organizations here, and I want to get involved in the community.
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