Media Moves

Wall Street Journal reorganizes U.S. news coverage

September 25, 2013

Posted by Chris Roush

Jennifer Forsyth, the U.S. news editor of The Wall Street Journal, sent out the following staff hires and promotions in an email on Wednesday:


Dear valued colleagues,

As many of you know, we have reorganized our U.S. News coverage. I am very excited about a new team of leaders the Journal has allowed me to assemble to greatly enhance our regional coverage. This will make our national report stronger and more competitive.  Please congratulate them on their new roles. Candy and flowers optional.


Michael Gray becomes West U.S. Editor, a newly created position. He will oversee coverage of the western states, including Hawaii and Alaska, and manage eight reporters in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland.  Mike comes to us with more than 30 years of managing and editing experience. He was most recently deputy business editor focused on technology coverage at the San Francisco Chronicle.  Before that he held several positions at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, including Sunday enterprise editor. Earlier stints include enterprise editor at the Baltimore Sun and various editing positions at the San Francisco Examiner, along with editing or reporting roles at the Hartford Courant, the Berkeley (CA) Gazette, the Montclarion in Oakland, Calif., the Point Reyes (CA) Light, and the Sonora (CA) Union-Democrat. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and did graduate work in Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He lives in Berkeley with his wife and will work out of our San Francisco bureau.  He joins us on Monday.

Tamara Audi has been promoted to Senior Special Writer and team leader in Los Angeles, working closely with Mike Gray to improve and expand our coverage in the west. She has been a newspaper reporter for 20 years, first writing for small papers in suburban Boston, then working as a stringer and clerk for the New York Times, and as a correspondent for the Philadelphia Inquirer. She spent the bulk of her career in Detroit as an investigative projects reporter for the Detroit Free Press. She came to The Wall Street Journal’s Los Angeles bureau in 2007 to cover the casino industry. In 2009, she began covering general news out of L.A. She is a graduate of Boston University; is still angry about that “Lost” finale; and despite what her Detroit-born husband says, is skeptical that this is the Lions’ year.

Kirsten Danis becomes the Northeast U.S. Editor, coordinating coverage from Maine to West Virginia and overseeing reporters in Boston, New York and Pittsburgh. She will also oversee special projects for US News and will coordinate Remembrances, our staff-written obituaries. She joined the Journal in 2011 as deputy editor of the Greater New York Section, where she led coverage of superstorm Sandy and the Newtown school shooting. Before coming to the Journal, Kirsten was managing editor at the New York Daily News. She covered City Hall for the New York Post and began her career as an obit writer at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City. A graduate of Columbia University, she lives with her husband and their two children in Brooklyn. Kirsten is a proud Massachusetts native and says “wicked awesome” a lot, without irony.

Joe Barrett becomes Midwest U.S. Editor, overseeing reporters in Chicago and Detroit and coordinating our education coverage nationwide. He previously was the deputy bureau chief in Chicago for seven years, with a focus on writing and editing U.S. News stories. In 23 years at Dow Jones and the Journal, he has worked on page one in New York and Brussels, the old national copy desk and the Dow Jones “ticker” news service–when it still ticked out headlines in brokers’ offices. He has an m.phil. degree in American Studies from New York University and started his career as a night cops reporter and GA at the Daily Press in Newport News, Va. He lives in Chicago with his wife, their two teenage kids and a big dog named Mucho.

Miguel Bustillo becomes Southwest U.S. Editor, overseeing reporters in Dallas and Austin and covering Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming. He will continue to write often for the Journal. He joined the Journal five years ago and covered Wal-Mart and other big-box chains before becoming the deputy bureau chief in Dallas last year. He helped oversee coverage of numerous calamities since, including this year’s Oklahoma tornadoes and the West, Texas, fertilizer explosion, while also writing page-one stories. He previously worked as reporter for 15 years at the Los Angeles Times. Miguel was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Philadelphia, where he became a passionate but entirely non-violent Eagles fan. He is a graduate of New York University, and lives in Dallas with his wife and daughter.

Betsy McKay will continue to manage coverage of US news in the Southeast as Atlanta Bureau Chief, a position she has held since 2009. She has overseen coverage of the occasional hurricane and tornado and also continues to write often about public health issues.  Betsy joined the Journal in 1996 as a reporter in Moscow and moved to the Atlanta bureau in 1999, where she covered beverages and public health before becoming deputy bureau chief in 2008. Betsy was a member of a team of Journal reporters awarded the 1999 Pulitzer Prize in international reporting for coverage of the Russian financial crisis.  She is a graduate of Amherst College and holds an M.A. in Russian language and literature from Bryn Mawr College. She is a native of Vermont who loves the Southern sun but misses the snow.

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