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Meet the Tri-City Herald editorial board

Gregg McConnell

Gregg joined the Tri-City Herald Oct. 24, 2011 as the eighth president and publisher in its 64-year history. Gregg, a 36–year newspaper veteran, is a Montana state native.

He began his newspaper career working after school at the weekly newspaper in Polson, Mont., and spent the first couple years of his career as a reporter and photographer for the Glendive Ranger-Review in Glendive, Montana.

He moved from the newsroom to advertising and in 1979 he joined Scripps League Newspapers as Advertising Director for their paper in Hamilton, Mont.

He spent 13 years with Scripps League Newspapers during which time he served as publisher at two of the company’s California newspapers.

He moved to Washington State in 1992 to work with Sound Publishing’s newspaper network and later spent five years as the general manager for non-daily operations with Skagit Publishing in Mount Vernon.

He served on the board of directors of the Washington Newspaper Publishers’ Association from 2002 to 2005.

He joined MediaNews Group in 2005 and returned to Northern California to lead the Lake County Record-Bee and its related operations. In 2008 he was promoted to publisher of The Reporter in Vacaville and the Daily Democrat in Woodland. In 2009 he became publisher of that company’s newspapers in Chico, Oroville and Paradise, California.

McConnell and his wife, Diane, have two grown sons: Cory, 33, and Lucas Shuck, 23, and two granddaughters.

E-mail Gregg McConnell




Laurie Williams

Executive Editor Laurie Williams joined the Herald in 1984. As a reporter in the Tri-Cities for 11 years, she covered business, courts, crime and city and county government. She worked her way through the ranks of assistant city editor and city editor before her promotion in 2000 to assistant managing editor. She was named executive editor in 2011 and oversees daily newsroom operations.

She is a longtime member of the Society of Professional Journalists and served six years on the organization’s national board of directors, representing the Pacific Northwest.

She grew up in Montana and Colorado and has a journalism-political science degree from the University of Montana.

She lives in Kennewick with her husband, Mark, an elementary school teacher, and their son Ryan.

E-mail Laurie Williams




Ken Robertson

Ken Robertson worked at the Tri-City Herald from 1976 to 2011 and managed the Herald newsroom since 1991 until he retired.

He previously was a managing editor and a reporter at The Helena (Mont.) Independent Record. He grew up in Helena and graduated from the University of Montana in Missoula.

He did his master's work in ancient history at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

He is a past chairman of the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association's Education Committee and served on PNNA reviews of journalism programs at Northwest's universities. In the Tri-Cities, he is a longtime board member of Junior Achievement and a past board president. He also is a member of the Foundation Board of Delta High School.

He is married to Patti A. Robertson, a private piano teacher, and has three sons and three granddaughters.

E-mail Ken Robertson




Lori Lancaster

Editorial writer Lori Lancaster is the only native of the Mid-Columbia on the Tri-City Herald Editorial Board.

Lancaster was born in Richland and grew up near Basin City on a farm her family pioneered in Block 20 of the Columbia Basin Irrigation District.

She graduated from Connell High School and Washington State University with a degree in communications, and an emphasis in journalism.

Lancaster worked as a reporter and city editor at The Herald in Everett, as an assistant metro editor at the San Francisco Examiner and as the legal affairs editor at the San Francisco Chronicle before returning to the Basin a few years ago.

She is the executive director and business administrator of the Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo. Lancaster lives in Richland.

E-mail Lori Lancaster




Cecilia Rexus

Cecilia Rexus joined the Tri-City Herald in 1987 as an intern from Washington State University. The summer internship led to a full-time job in the newsroom, where she began as the education reporter, covering Tri-City area school districts, Columbia Basin College, what used to be called the Joint Center for Graduate Study (now WSU Tri-Cities) and most things kid related. She later covered the city of Richland and the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.

After four years as a reporter, Rexus joined the editorial board at the request of then-publisher Kelso Gillenwater. He was trying to diversify the board and wanted a woman representative. Rexus was the first.

After two years on the board however, and with baby number two on the way, Rexus decided to stay home full-time and left the Herald in July 1993.

Since then, she has continued to fill in at the Herald as needed. And came back to the board in 2014.

Rexus’ husband, Matt, is an eighth grade science teacher at Desert Hills Middle School and coaches cross country and track at Kamiakin High School.

They have five children: Tyler, Stephanie, Brendan, Jeremy and Johnathon.

E-mail Cecilia Rexus




Michelle Whitney

Michelle Whitney, Deputy Superintendent for Pasco Schools, is the Tri-City Herald’s new reader representative. In her current role, she provides leadership for the curriculum department and supervises the three Pasco middle schools. She is the transitioning superintendent.

She was born and raised in the Tri-Cities before attending Columbia Basin College and Washington State University where she earned a bachelor’s of education degree, graduating summa cum laude.

Whitney returned to her roots right after college and got a job at Captain Gray Elementary School in Pasco teaching kindergarten. While serving the school district in a variety of roles, she earned her graduate degree in counseling. She eventually became the principal at McLoughlin Middle School before becoming executive director for human resources for the entire district.

In all, she has spent 20 years working in the Pasco School District.

She was president of her Leadership Tri-Cities class in 2012-2013, and currently serves on the board. She is a member of the Washington Association of School Administrators and the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development. Whitney also serves as a liaison member for the Pasco Chamber of Commerce.

E-mail Michelle Whitney

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