A 37-year-old journalist known for her understanding of digital journalism and her passion for investigative journalism has been named editor of The Des Moines Register and vice president for audience engagement, said Publisher Rick Green today.

Amalie Nash comes from the Detroit Free Press, another Gannett newpaper, where she has been assistant managing editor for metro-state news. In that role, she directed local news coverage and the investigative team, and had integral roles supervising coverage of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy filing and the public corruption trial of former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Green said he had worked with Nash on a Gannett project earlier and was impressed with her. His impressions were reinforced when she came to Des Moines for an interview earlier this month.

The two share similar visions for newspapers in the 21st century - upholding First Amendment rights, investigative journalism to protect taxpayers' rights, powerful storytelling and finding ways to engage readers on new digital platforms.

“It’s incredibly rare for a publisher to tap his successor. I was incredibly fortunate,” said  Green, who was the Register’s editor until he was named publisher in August.

He added that Carol Hunter, a former news editor, opinion page editor, and the interim editor in chief, assumes the “Number 2 position” in the newsroom. She will work closely with some of the newsroom departments and share responsibilities for getting out into the community, along with Nash and himself, he said.

In Detroit, Nash had been the editor on a number of award-winning projects, including “A Family’s Nightmare” in 2011 and “Free to Kill” in 2012, which both exposed serious lapses in the criminal justice system, according to DesMoinesRegister.com.

She starts in Des Moines on Feb. 3, Green said.