Jeffry Couch has been appointed editor and general manager of the Belleville News-Democrat.
Couch has led the BND’s newsroom for nearly 14 years.
Tony Berg, Midwest regional publisher for McClatchy, the BND’s owner, announced Couch’s expanded role during a staff meeting on Thursday.
“Jeff is a proven and trusted leader in Belleville,” Berg said before the meeting. “With his strong record of award-winning local journalism and digital audience growth, I am confident that he will be successful in continuing to drive our digital transformation.”
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In his new role, Couch will be the BND’s top executive while continuing his role as editor.
“It’s been a privilege to be editor of a team of talented journalists with a tradition of producing excellent local, public service journalism,” Couch said. “I’m honored to take on a broader leadership role and work with all our BND colleagues to serve the evolving needs of readers across Southern Illinois.”
Couch succeeds Jay Tebbe as the top executive at the News-Democrat. Tebbe was president and publisher of the BND for 14 years before retiring at the end of 2017.
Couch joined the BND as executive editor in 2004. During his tenure, the newsroom expanded its investigative and enterprise work as the BND evolved into a digital media company and has had a record of strong digital audience growth.
With nearly 38 years as a professional journalist, Couch has worked as a reporter and editor in western Pennsylvania, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Prior to his appointment as BND executive editor, Couch served for four years as managing editor of The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and 15 years as a reporter and editor at The Fayetteville Observer in Fayetteville, N.C.
Couch is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. He and his wife, Kerry Warren Couch, live on their horse farm outside of Mascoutah.