Paige Mudd, the one-time Richmond Times-Dispatch intern who is now its editor-in-chief, and the first woman running the newsroom in the paper’s 165-year history, has a message for the staff: “If you’re not aiming for A1, you better find a better story.”
Mudd, 37, took over as editor of the daily in July. Her ascension marks a remarkable climb up the T-D’s corporate ladder. Just 16 years ago, she was a paid intern on staff. In the years since, she has been a beat reporter, senior editor and managing editor.
Mudd says she wants to see a newsroom crackling with “attitude and energy” — along with some friendly competition among staffers to land a story on the prized real estate of the front page.
“That’s my message to our staff,” she says. “Let’s build on our momentum. Let’s encourage our veteran staff and fresh talent to do their best work every day.”
Paige Mudd, 37, is now the Richmond Times-Disptach's editor-in-chief, and the first woman running the newsroom in the paper’s 165-year history. (Photo by Jay Paul)
Mudd replaced her boss, Danny Finnegan, who had been editor since 2011. He is now vice president of news and digital audience. Mudd, now also among the youngest editors in T-D history, says she’s wanted the editor job for several years, a fact she made known to Finnegan and the newspaper’s president and publisher, Thomas Silvestri.
“I told them this is what I wanted my next step to be,” she says. “It was sort of like having an interview every day that I was doing the job.”
The newspaper business in general has changed dramatically in the last decade, and the Times-Dispatch has not been immune. The paper was among more than 60 print products that Richmond-based Media General Inc. sold to Berkshire Hathaway Group in 2012, marking the end of its local ownership.
In the newspaper’s announcement of the management changes earlier this year, Silvestri said that Mudd “represents the next generation of journalists … ready to create their own record of journalistic excellence and exceptional community service.”
Mudd says she doesn’t plan to announce any immediate changes, but will be meeting with every staff member to “make sure people understand that I welcome ideas from all corners. It’s a dynamic environment and an ever-changing business, and we need to always be looking for updates that put us in a position to produce our best work.”
When it comes to the big stories, she says, the paper will “throw every available resource at them. No looking back and wishing we’d put everyone on it. Don’t second guess — just go.”