New Leaders at KUT and Texas Monthly

Legacy media powers move past scandal with outside hires

Debbie Hiott
Debbie Hiott

Two of Austin's highest-profile legacy media outlets announced new hires to take their reins this week. Longtime Statesman fixture Debbie Hiott, who stepped down as editor-in-chief of the daily in Novem­ber after taking a buyout from new owners GateHouse Media, will become the new general manager of KUT/KUTX, which has been searching for a permanent CEO since Stewart Vanderwilt left more than six months ago. During that time, the beloved public-radio brand's newsroom culture and diversity came under an unflattering spotlight, leading to the departure of both interim GM Patti Smith and founding news director Emily Donahue. The stations "have talented teams, a great brand, and a critical local news and entertainment mission for the community," tweeted Hiott, a Texas State grad who labored in the Batcave for more than 25 years. "I am fortunate to have a role in that going forward. ... Being able to stay in Austin and continue to do this is a real thrill for me."

Meanwhile, Texas Monthly announced Dan Good­game as its new editor-in-chief, replacing Hiott's Statesman predecessor Richard Oppel, who'd been drafted as an interim after former EIC Tim Taliaferro was ensnared in an ethically dubious deal with Austin-based dating app Bumble, whose CEO appeared on the Feb. 2018 TM cover. Goodgame's had a long career in journalism but has spent the last decade as a PR exec at San Antonio-based cloud storage firm Rack­space; Texas Monthly owner Paul Hobby said he's been trying to hire Goodgame to be his EIC for more than two years (that is, since he bought the magazine, and before he hired Taliaferro, who still works at TM as the chief innovation officer).

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