The Independent recently named Aly Brown as the new editor, replacing Janet Armantrout, who held the position since 1989 before her death last August.
Armantrout’s commitment to the paper and care for her community was seen in her attention to residents who called her with their personal stories, as well as her coverage of issues that affected the broad community, such as rapid growth, concern for the disadvantaged and support for the cultural life of the Tri-Valley. She was known for her fair, balanced reporting, and her strong response when challenged in ways she found inappropriate. According to Publisher Joan Seppala, Brown will continue the traditions established by Armantrout, and add her own areas of strength.
“Our reporters and staff have already worked with Aly during a transition period,” Seppala said. “We are all in full support of Aly’s leadership, whose values are consistent with the 56-year history of The Independent. In addition to connecting with the existing team, she has engaged new experienced journalists who have widened our coverage.”
Brown brings to The Independent a background in both journalism and traditional book publishing. As an assistant managing editor, copy editor and journalist reporting in Contra Costa County for the Brentwood Press, her writing has received awards from both the National Newspaper Association and the California Newspaper Publishers Association for her coverage of education. Prior to her years in the newsroom where she learned to wear many hats in a fast-paced environment, she signed her first book deal and landed a literary agent. She continues to actively shop her books to large publishing houses with her agent.
An Amador Valley High School graduate from the Class of 2003, Brown said she looks forward to covering news in her hometown area.
“I’m driving the push for daily online publications and social-media updates, and hope to enhance the sports section once the shelter-in-place order is lifted and athletic leagues return to play,” she added.
Seppala noted that Brown brings a younger perspective to The Independent.
“For instance, in addition to meeting the needs of those who enjoy reading an online paper daily, she connects particularly with young families dealing with the difficulties of educating their children at home, and supporting their frail grandparents,” she said.
Turning to thank The Independent’s interim editor, Seppala stated, “The Independent is forever grateful to Robert Frank, who served as a guiding light for the paper in the shadow of Armantrout’s passing.”
Frank will continue to offer his expertise in a consulting editor capacity.
“I’m beyond thrilled to be working with the team at The Independent,” Brown continued. “Janet left some big shoes for me to fill, but I hope to honor her legacy by serving the community members with coverage of the issues and stories that matter to them.”