Democrat editor Bob Satnan leaving paper business to go to school

March 20, 2013

Sedalia Democrat Editor Bob Satnan may start reevaluating his wardrobe soon. He’s going to need a few more black and gold-colored items.

On Tuesday Satnan submitted his resignation as editor of the Democrat to take a position as communication director of the Sedalia 200 School District. Approved by the Board of Education during a closed session Monday, the new job will also see Satnan teach high school journalism and two personal finance courses.

“I’ve worked in newsrooms since my junior year of college in 1984 so this change is exciting and frightening,” Satnan said. “But more than that, it’s an opportunity to use my core skills of news reporting while branching out into new areas.”

Satnan has been editor of the Democrat since January 2009. He previously worked at newspapers in Arizona and Illinois. In addition to overseeing the Democrat’s win for 2012 Daily Newspaper of the Year by the Kansas City Press Club, Satnan has also been the recipient of multiple Missouri State Teachers Association and other media awards.

While at the Democrat Satnan wrote about the school district, background that will come in handy, he said.

“One of the things I’m looking forward to is learning from the district employees who I have come to respect and admire,” he said. “Chris Pyle, Carla Wheeler, Lisa Volk, Wade Norton, the list goes on and on of driven professionals who work their hardest to make sure students have opportunities for success.”

“Bob is not only familiar with the community’s needs, but also familiar with the district,” said Superintendent Harriet Wolfe. “He knows the principal players in the district, student programs, key teachers and administration at buildings, so I don’t think there’s going to be much of a learning curve for him to know all the ins and outs of what goes on here.”

The district previously had a part-time public information specialist, but that position was not filled due to budget cuts in recent years. Wolfe said district administration felt it was time to bring back someone, especially to expand the district’s social media presence.

“In this age of social media, we felt we needed to be more proactive in

getting news out there and we knew we had neither the time nor the talent to address those issues,” she said.

Satnan plans to use the district’s current Twitter account more frequently as well as launch an office Facebook page to let the community know what’s going on around the district. The other part of his new job, teaching, will require a little more training. Wolfe said while Satnan’s Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and his professional experience mean he won’t have to earn a degree in education, he will have to be certified.

“This summer he’ll take a few courses required for things like classroom management,” Wolfe said. “But I know he has a wealth of real-world experience that he’ll be able to rely on in his new position.”

Satnan said he will miss his time at the Democrat, especially his employees in the newsroom.

“It’s no boast to say for the size of this newspaper, this is easily the most talented newsroom I’ve had the privilege to work with,” he said. “Winning (Kansas City Press Club) Daily of the Year is a testament to the across-the-board quality journalism we provide our readers on a day-to-day basis.”

“Bob has been an integral part of the Democrat by doing whatever he needs to to get the best possible product to serve our community,” said Democrat Publisher Lynn Kidd. “He’s always been here, five, six, seven days a week, often the first in and last out; he’s an editor’s editor. We will miss him tremendously.”

Satnan acknowledged his new job will take some getting used to, but said he’s up for the challenge.

“Wade (Norton) talks a lot about Tiger pride. I’m going to have to embrace the black and gold,” he said. “It was a hard decision to leave newspapers and the Democrat, but this is a great opportunity.”

Satnan’s last day at the Democrat will be April 12. He will start at the district April 15.