MADISONVILLE, Ky. (11/9/13) — A longtime western Kentucky journalist has been named news director for SurfKY News, headquartered in Madisonville.
Rita Dukes Smith joined the staff as lead reporter in the Madisonville office in early July and recently was promoted to news director.
Smith was the lead reporter for The Messenger in Madisonville from 1999-2002, where she covered business, education, health, made assignments, mentored reporters and designed pages for pre-press. She left The Messenger to accept the editor's position at Leader-News in Muhlenberg, where she spent the next 11 years focusing on community news coverage.
“Most of what readers want to know is what's happening in their hometowns and how global events affect us,” said Smith. “At SurfKY, we're taking that approach with our reporters covering local events. However, being an online news sources opens up the entire world to our readers. It's being hometown yet world wise.”
Smith said her experience in newspapers has paved the way for her new position.
“I have loved working at newspapers,” Smith said. “I have learned from some of the most respected journalists in Kentucky. However, this is the evolution of the industry. That's what online news means to me.”
Not only is having the ability to post news within only minutes an advantage of online publication but also the quality of camera to computer screen photographs, she said.
“It's exciting to have the ability to print visually beautiful photos,” she said. “Fortunately, we don't have to worry about photos fading in the printing process. You'll see a lot of faces on our site. When we cover special events, we're looking for people, people and people.”
Smith is also serving as a mentor to the reporters at SurfKY's Lexington and Daviess County bureaus and for the Hopkins and Muhlenberg counties reporters.
“It's an extreme privilege to be working with some very talented young journalists,” she said.
SurfKY president Ron Sanders said that Smith's experience in the industry is an asset to the SurfKY News team.
“Rita's leadership abilities in news direction will help us move forward as the number one online news source in Kentucky,” said Sanders.
Smith serves as chairwoman and founder of The Pathway of Hope Pregnancy Resource Center in Greenville, is a member of the Kentucky Press Association and the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts advisory board.
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