Big Rapids Pioneer Editor-in-Chief Dave Clark has been selected as the next director of student publications at Central Michigan University.
Clark will earn an annual salary of $72,000 and will replace current director Neil Hopp on May 28, according to a statement by Provost Gary Shapiro.
The director of student publications advises the staffs of Central Michigan Life and The Central Review.
Milliman Communications’ Dirk Milliman said the CMU Media Board recommended Clark to Shapiro, and Shapiro made the appointment soon after. Milliman said the board recommended Clark because of his energy and ability to connect with students.
“He’s experienced, he’s young and energetic and up to speed on new technology,” Milliman said. “The way he engaged with students in the public interview also stood out. With other candidates, it felt more like an interrogation. With him, it was a conversation.”
Clark is a CMU graduate, who in addition to his job as Pioneer editor-in-chief, previously served as assistant metro editor and business editor at the News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Ind., and as an editor at The Daily Telegram in Adrian.
Milliman said the board also liked the mix of ideas Clark brought to the table.
“What we also liked about him is he did his homework,” he said. “He came to us with many different ideas.”
Clark beat out two other finalists in the search: Jim Knight, manager of human resources communications at the University of Michigan, and Keith Gave, the adviser to The Washtenaw Voice, Washtenaw Community College’s student newspaper.
Clark said he wants to take CM Life in new directions.
“I want to really push the boundaries of where CM Life is and where CM Life is going,” he said.
Clark said his main focus is giving student journalists the skills they need to succeed in the workforce upon graduation.
“It’s more important than ever to be prepared to contribute to a news organization on day one,” Clark said. “I want to make sure when students leave CM Life, that they are able to shoot video, to write in several formats and to tell a story in a variety of ways.”
Clark said his management style will be very similar to Hopp’s, in that he will let students run CM Life and focus on advising them. Yet, he still plans on bringing several ideas to the table, including a proposal to turn CM Life into a commuter-style newspaper.
“I’ve heard it said that I was planning to make CM Life into a bunch of briefs; that’s not what I said,” Clark said. “The idea of a commuter-style newspaper is that you’re going to be able to pick it up and read it throughout the day…We incorporate more briefs, maybe we make some changes on what stories we cover. There still needs to be a place for long-term investigative works, but I’ve (rarely) seen a Q & A in the paper. I want to push more design, fact boxes, graphics, things like that.”
Clark said he is more than thrilled to take the job.
“I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to come back to CMU, and to be able to take part of CM Life,” Clark said. “I was not exaggerating when I said this was a dream job for me.”