Carpenter, Spieth-Saylor head newsroom
Jackie Carpenter, veteran reporter and managing editor of The Corydon Democrat, has been named editor of the 150-year-old community newspaper, while long-time reporter Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor has been appointed assistant editor.
Jonathan O’Bannon, publisher of O’Bannon Publishing Co. Inc., which owns the newspaper, announced the promotions to the staff Friday morning.
Carpenter began her journalism career at the newspaper in 1983 as a reporter, covering county government, news events and features.
‘I remember when I first came to work at The Corydon Democrat, I was a nervous wreck,’ Carpenter said. ‘Then, I grew to love it, and I have never lost interest. Every story is different, yet similar.
‘I enjoy covering local government. Some local officials are more cooperative than others, but it’s all very interesting.’
Carpenter’s first job was working as a waitress at a Frisch’s restaurant on Dixie Highway in Louisville. It was there that she met a ‘handsome young fellow, fresh out of high school’ named Virgil Carpenter. They eventually married and have raised four children.
Carpenter then went to work for a law firm as a legal secretary, and later attended the University of Louisville to become a paralegal.
‘Working as a waitress really teaches you how to meet people,’ Carpenter said. ‘And when I was working in the law office, I learned a lot about interviewing people and how to translate what they told me into a court document. That experience has helped me a lot.
‘And I had a professor at (Indiana University Southeast) who had worked as a reporter. I learned a lot about the newspaper business from him and from Randy West, my mentor.’
Carpenter plans no immediate changes at the newspaper.
‘My goal as editor is to continue producing a reader-friendly newspaper each week, one that informs, entertains, educates and records community history.’
Carpenter succeeds West, who retired in December after 35 years as editor.
Spieth-Saylor, who studied communications at Purdue University and took several classes at IUS, joined The Corydon Democrat news staff in 1991. She had previously worked as an office manager for a construction company for seven years and as a secretary for Corydon Presbyterian Church for more than eight years.
‘I did all of the writing for the church newsletter while I was working there,’ Spieth-Saylor said. ‘I knew several people in the newspaper office who encouraged me to seek employment in the newsroom.’
Spieth-Saylor worked for the newspaper as a reporter from May 1991 until October 1997, when she accepted the editor’s position at The Washington County Edition, a weekly newspaper in Salem. She worked there until January 1999, then rejoined the staff of The Corydon Democrat a month later.
‘Moving into this position is something that I’ve worked towards the past several years,’ Spieth-Saylor said. ‘I think my experience as an editor at another newspaper helped prepare me for this.
‘Jackie is a great journalist. She and Randy West have been my mentors since I first joined O’Bannon Publishing Co. in 1991,’ she said. ‘I look forward to working under her in her new role as editor. I think we’ll make a great team.’
‘We all feel that it’s a fantastic combination,’ he said. ‘They have years of service here, and have worked together extremely well in the past, and will in the future.’
Spieth-Saylor lives near Frenchtown with her husband, Ray Saylor, who is police chief at Milltown. She has two children, Randy, 22, and Kimberly, 20.
Carpenter and her husband live near Elizabeth, their home since 1978.
Both she and Spieth-Saylor know Harrison County and its people well, which is an asset to the newspaper, Carpenter said. ‘Readers look for consistency,’ she said, adding, ‘You have to know your community well to do a good job.’