Among staff changes for Reporter, the Synod’s national newspaper, starting July 1, Paula Schlueter Ross becomes managing editor, succeeding Joe Isenhower Jr.
Isenhower retires June 30 after 33 years as a reporter and editor with LCMS Communications and six with Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
“For more than 30 years, whenever you saw the byline ‘By Joe Isenhower Jr.,’ you knew you were about to read a clear, objective story that presented the facts honestly and yet always had the Synod’s best interests at heart,” said David Strand, executive director of LCMS Communications. “That’s been Joe: the consummate church journalist.
“No matter which Synod president or board chairman or other leader held the gavel in our main boardroom or any other venue,” Strand continued, “when he or she saw Joe in the back of the room with his notepad, they had to think, ‘Oh, good. There’s Joe. The account of our meeting is in excellent hands.’ ”
But of course Isenhower did much more than cover meetings. “He’s written and edited all manner of stories, thousands of them,” said Strand. “He’s been at the helm of Reporter for a long time; he’s been at the center of our overall newsgathering operations for years.
“In the long annals of communications work in the Synod, there aren’t many figures more distinguished and respected than Mr. Isenhower. We wish him joy in the Lord in his well-deserved retirement.”
Isenhower and Ross are longtime colleagues and close associates in the department’s news-and-information area. Managing editor of Reporter Online and senior staff writer for Reporter, Ross joined the Synod’s Communications department in 1984.
“What a blessing to have someone of Paula’s caliber take over for Joe,” Strand said. “Her institutional knowledge is on par with his, and she is equally esteemed as a journalist throughout the church.
“Paula can write just about anything,” Strand added. “News stories, features, event coverage, profiles — even her obituaries are memorable. She’s our most decorated writer in terms of national awards, and she knows how to put a newspaper together.
“The torch has been passed from one seasoned veteran to another.”
Joining the Reporter team in mid-August will be Cheryl Magness of Broken Arrow, Okla.
Magness, a former English teacher, holds bachelor’s degrees in piano and English, and a master’s degree in literature. She currently is a freelance editor for LCMS Communications; a regular contributor to The Federalist, a web magazine focused on culture, politics and religion; and assistant editor for Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife, a blog written by and for Lutheran women.
Magness and her husband — church musician, composer and cantor Phillip A. Magness — have three children ages 13 to 24.
“While I will miss working alongside my esteemed colleague and dear friend, Joe Isenhower,” Ross said, “I look forward to creating a new partnership with Cheryl — also a talented writer and editor — to maintain Reporter’s excellence as a denominational newspaper.”
The current print Reporter is a combined July-August edition; other issues are monthly. One of the Synod’s two official periodicals (the other is The Lutheran Witness magazine), Reporter is mailed free to some 21,800 rostered church workers, plus two lay leaders at each of the church body’s 6,100 congregations nationwide.
For information on subscribing to the print Reporter, click here.
Stories also appear on Reporter Online — at reporter.lcms.org. To receive emails with links to new Reporter Online stories as they are posted, go to lcms.org/enews and register for the free e-news service, LCMS News.
Posted June 28, 2017