Dusti Demarest has been named executive editor of The Olympian, beginning April 6.
Demarest, a South Sound native, started at the newspaper in 1994 as enterprise editor and later became the assistant managing editor.
For the past six years, she has led a joint reporting team as features editor for The Olympian and The News Tribune. Both papers are owned by The McClatchy Company. Jeff Mayor, who joined The News Tribune in 2003 as adventure editor, will become features editor for The Olympian and The News Tribune on April 6.
In addition to becoming the top editor in the newsroom, Demarest will join The Olympian’s editorial board.
Her priorities in the new roles include more interaction with readers and increasing local news content.
“I’m really hoping we can focus more on some deeper-level enterprise stories about the communities of Thurston County,” Demarest said. “I want to hear from the community about the stories that we need to be writing.”
Another ongoing goal is to equip readers with the knowledge to make informed decisions about local issues, she said.
“The question I always ask is ‘why?’ That’s the question I always want to answer for people, and it’s the question that gets answered the least in a lot of news stories,” she said. “If you know why something’s happening, you’re so much better equipped to change it if it’s not going well.”
Although born in Tacoma, Demarest is a 21-year resident of Olympia who raised her two children here. She lives in the South Capitol neighborhood.
As for community service, she has served on the Lincoln Options Elementary School site council and is now part of the Thurston County United Way Women’s Leadership Council. At The Olympian, she will share responsibility for community outreach with ad manager Melissa Jenkins. Jerre Redecker will remain an editor in the newsroom and also contribute to reporting.
“Dusti is a good editor and a strong leader, with a real respect for both readers and staff. She also cares deeply about Olympia and the surrounding community,” said Karen Peterson, executive editor of The News Tribune. “That combination makes her uniquely qualified to take on this important new role.”
Demarest has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Her career has included stints as a reporter for The Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa, and the Wausau Daily Herald in Wisconsin. She also has worked as a local news editor for the Ypsilanti Press and The Ann Arbor News in Michigan.