Chris Herrington, longtime music and film editor and Memphis Grizzlies reporter for the Memphis Flyer, begins a new job Sept. 23 as Entertainment Editor of The Commercial Appeal.
As the Entertainment Editor, Herrington, 39, will direct and sometimes contribute to coverage of the arts, including music, movies, theater, dance, art exhibits and so on. Assistant Managing Editor Peggy McKenzie will continue to oversee arts and feature coverage, but will concentrate more heavily on the lifestyle stories that appear in the daily M sections.
“I’ve followed Chris’ career for years, and am very excited to have such a talented, digitally savvy journalist join us as Entertainment Editor,” McKenzie said.
Herrington’s most significant assignment may be in galvanizing the newspaper’s arts-and-entertainment website, gomemphis.com, the online adjunct to the weekend arts tabloid, the Go Memphis section, which is included in the Friday newspaper.
Herrington not only has “an encyclopedic knowledge of music, movies and the NBA,” but he “understands and uses digital tools as well as anyone in this market,” said Louis Graham, editor of The Commercial Appeal, in announcing the hire Thursday. “Chris will have a huge role in helping us reinvent our digital entertainment content... Simply put, he gets it.”
Herrington said he hopes to create “a more dynamic digital product” that will build on “the newspaper’s already strong entertainment coverage.”
The recipient of numerous writing awards and a frequent guest on local sports talk radio shows, Herrington has been with the Memphis Flyer, a weekly newspaper, since 2000.
“I appreciate the time I had at the Flyer and value the work I did there,” Herrington said.
However, “I feel like I reached the stage in my career where I needed a new challenge, and I appreciate The Commercial Appeal giving me the opportunity to pursue a new challenge while remaining in Memphis, which is important to me.”
Herrington’s wife, Joanna Curtis, is a development officer at the University of Memphis. The couple’s two children are Rosie, 8, and Ben, 3.
Herrington -- who cites Prince’s “Sign ‘O’ the Times” as his favorite album and Howard Hawks’ “Rio Bravo,” with John Wayne, as his favorite movie -- is well-known for the Grizzlies blog he writes for the Flyer and for his Grizzlies analysis on local sports radio. After settling into the Entertainment Editor job, he likely will produce Grizzlies analysis for The Commercial Appeal via a blog or some other format, to supplement beat writer Ronald Tillery’s Grizzlies coverage. “There’s a mutual desire for me to find a role” in writing about the Grizzlies, Herrington said.
The Herrington hire marks the second major announcement in as many days at The Commercial Appeal. Wednesday, Graham announced that Mark Russell, 51, former editor of the Orlando Sentinel, would be the Scripps newspaper’s new managing editor.
“Just as I said about Mark Russell’s hiring yesterday, Chris will make us dramatically better,” Graham said.
Graham, 56, a longtime employee of the newspaper, was promoted to editor of The Commercial Appeal in June by publisher George Cogswell.