D&C Names Michael Kilian Executive Editor
Rochester Chamber Partner member Democrat and Chronicle named Michael Kilian, a Fairport native, executive editor.
Kilian, executive editor of the Burlington Free Press in Vermont, succeeds longtime D&C editor Karen Magnuson. She is one of four newsroom staffers to accept an early-retirement package from Gannett Co. Inc., which operates the USA TODAY Network and owns the Democrat and Chronicle. Their last day is Wednesday.
“She’s devoted 19 years to the D&C and what a remarkable commitment it’s been,” Kilian said of Magnuson. “I’m honored to follow in her footsteps and build and continue on what she’s (done) for the staff and community for all of these years.”
Magnuson said she’s delighted to pass the baton to an excellent editor whose roots are here.
“The D&C is in great hands,” she said. “Mike already cares about this community and is familiar with the issues. His leadership experience will serve the staff and the community very well. He’ll hit the ground running!”
Kilian, 55, is a graduate of Fairport High School and Cornell University. He is the first locally born top editor of the Democrat and Chronicle since Joseph T. Adams, who ran the newspaper from 1939 to 1941.
As a child, Kilian read the former Times-Union afternoon newspaper and the Democrat and Chronicle on Sundays. “I was reading some of the very best journalists in the country, edited by some of the best editors.” As he grew older, “I realized how well the Times-Union and the D&C reflected the communities they served, and I think that’s ever more important today.”
He has been a newspaper editor since 1990, working primarily with Gannett in locations including Saratoga Springs and Utica, New York; Salisbury, Maryland; and Cincinnati, where he worked from 2015 until March 2018. He was news director at The Cincinnati Enquirer when it published a riveting look at the local heroin epidemic. That work won the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting in 2018.
While he was editor in Burlington, the Free Press investigated flaws in the enforcement of domestic violence cases, and how the state of Vermont struggled over sexual harassment issues.
“I’m excited to see Mike take over leadership in Rochester and across the region,” said Randy Lovely, vice president for community news with the USA TODAY Network. “He has a strong connection to New York, and great appreciation for the role the D&C plays in the community. He will be a strong partner and advocate for the community.”
In addition to his role in Rochester, Kilian will serve as state editor for USA TODAY Network properties in New York and Vermont.
Kilian is a father of two. His son, Benjamin, studies physics at Boston University. His daughter, Molly, is a high school senior. Many in his extended family still live in the Rochester area.
“I understand and appreciate the community spirit in greater Rochester, the local residents’ sense of serving the greater good, and the joys and traditions, whether they be Zweigle’s white hots or Abbott’s custard or any of the … burger spots,” Kilian said.