Utica, N.Y., Observer-Dispatch editor Joe Kieta to be Ledger-Enquirer's new executive editor

A 38-year-old Ohio native who strives to make newspapers lively and engaging by redesigning both their online and print editions and embracing social media will become the Ledger-Enquirer’s new executive editor on Aug. 23.

Publisher Valerie Canepa has picked Joe Kieta to replace Ben Holden, who left the newspaper April 28.

Since June 2008, Kieta has been the editor of the Observer-Dispatch of Utica, N.Y., guiding a staff of 39 that he reorganized into teams to streamline newsroom operations, and improving the paper’s website, uticaod.com.

The Utica paper belongs to GateHouse Media. Before working there, Kieta from April 2001 to June 2008 was editor of California’s Merced Sun-Star, which like the Ledger-Enquirer belongs to The McClatchy Company. There Kieta initiated and edited an investigation that led to the local district attorney’s resignation. That series won the national Associated Press Managing Editors Association Public Service Award in 2006.

Over the years Kieta has been managing editor for visuals at the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., presentation editor of The Tribune in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and local news editor of The Daily Telegram in Adrian, Mich., where he began his career in the mid-1990s, working as a reporter and copy editor.

Kieta has a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in print journalism from the University of Toledo, where he was editor of the student newspaper, The Collegian. He and wife Sandra have three children, daughters Tatiana, 15, and Karissa, 12, and son Ethan, 3.