OVP editor accepts position with Ohio University

By Beth Sergent

January 11, 2014

OHIO VALLEY — For writers, there is always and perpetually a next chapter.

Stephanie M. Filson — writer, editor and regional content manager of the Ohio Valley Publishing (OVP) group of Civitas Media newspapers — has accepted a position with Ohio University (OU) in Athens and so begins her next chapter.

Filson will be the new director of external communications for OU starting Jan. 21.

Since 2011, Filson has been the managing editor for The Gallipolis Daily Tribune, The Point Pleasant Register and The Daily Sentinel. A native of Meigs County, Ohio, she’s a 1994 graduate of Southern High School in Racine. In 1999, she graduated from the University of Rio Grande with a bachelor’s degree in comprehensive communication. In 2005, she completed the two-year Ohio Certified Public Manager (OCPM) program at OU, and in 2011, she graduated from OU with a master’s in public administration (MPA).

She began her career at The Gallipolis Daily Tribune as a reporter, followed by a position as public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 10’s nine-county region, and then executive director of the Jackson County (Ohio) Economic Development Board (JCEDB). For nearly three years, she’s been back where she started at OVP, now in the capacity of managing editor — her last day was Friday, Jan. 10.

Filson said working with the media for the three Ohio River counties has been special to her since it provided her the opportunity to revisit her stomping grounds.

“Having grown up in southeast Ohio, these are my hometown newspapers, and I have greatly enjoyed knowing that our daily readership includes family, neighbors and friends,” Filson said.

In Filson’s new role, she’ll be serving, and speaking for, one of the country’s most prestigious universities.

“As the university’s formal spokesperson and principal media liaison, Filson will be called upon to provide counsel and advice on reputational issues, handle emergencies as well as develop strategies that will raise the national profile of the university,” Renea Morris, M.Ed., executive director of Ohio University Communications and Marketing said. “I am pleased to welcome Stephanie to the University Communications and Marketing team and to Ohio University. Her experience and background make her uniquely suited for this role. Managing a busy newsroom, maintaining key media contacts, and mitigating complex issues while working in a government agency will serve her well in this position.”

Though Filson is excited for this new chapter in her life to begin, when she looks back on the one that just ended, she credits her editorial staff for being a integral part of her most recent story.

“It’s incredible what such a small staff can accomplish, even with meager resources, when they have this much talent and drive,” she said. “I feel fortunate I had the opportunity to lead a team like this.”

Filson said it takes a unique set of skills, thick skin and self motivation to work in journalism.

“I don’t think many people recognize the level of stress that comes with handling multiple daily deadlines while maintaining both a passion for the work and compassion for customers,” Filson said. “We [the OVP editorial staff] care about these communities and strive to keep their residents informed of important local news. The culture we create in the newsroom is different than any other workplace I’ve been. It’s fast paced, exciting, pressure filled. As difficult as it can be, there’s a tremendous sense of accomplishment at the end of the day … which, in our case, is usually the middle of the night.”

Filson said that although turning the page is somewhat bittersweet, she is looking forward to her new role at OU.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have carved out a successful career path here in southeast Ohio, and I am grateful that this tremendous new opportunity will allow me to continue to live and work in the region I know so well and love so much,” said Filson.

Civitas Media announced this week that Filson’s replacement will be Michael Johnson, who has worked at newspapers in Ohio, New Mexico, Michigan and Wyoming. Johnson is expected to begin working at OVP the week of Jan. 27. More on Johnson’s arrival and credentials will appear in a later edition.

Editor’s note: Until Johnson arrives, OVP Staff Reporter Beth Sergent, who is currently based out of The Point Pleasant Register office, will be acting as interim editor.