Michael Swisher



Editor and Publisher



Managing Editor, Kingfisher Times & Free Press, Kingfisher, OK Education: Auburn University, journalism Michael Swisher was nominated by a coworker who wrote: “Michael Swisher is the epitome of a small-town editor; no job is too big or too small. His official title is managing editor, but he also serves as sports editor/ writer (covering every sport in six school districts), news and feature writer, photographer, ad circular inserter and newsstand-filler. Over the years, he’s mentored a number of interns and fledgling writers and always manages to find projects that ignite their enthusiasm as he teaches them the value of an engaging lead and tight, active writing. When COVID-19 swept through our office last year, ‘Swish’ was emailing articles from his bed as he waged a five-day battle to stay out of the hospital. He has been recognized by our local chamber of commerce as one of its Citizens of the Year and by our state’s high school activity association for ‘excellence in sports coverage.’” What advice do you have for other young professionals who aspire to become an editor extraordinaire? I’ve never worked in a big shop, so I’m only speaking from my experience with a smaller paper. You have to be well-rounded. At our newspaper, you might cover a sporting event, a highlycontentious school board meeting, a county commission meeting and then take pictures of the young lady turning 100 at the nursing home. On top of a wide array of stories you may cover, you also have many ways to report. On top of your print edition, you may need to update the website or provide multiple up-to-the-minute updates on social media of certain events. Oh, and sometimes you’ve got to take a break from the 1,200-word feature you’re working on to stuff ad inserts into the latest print edition and deliver them to the newsstands. Don’t be too big for any task. … All of it matters here. What do you look for when hiring a journalist for your team? I want someone with a work ethic. This job isn’t always easy, and sometimes you really have to grind. You can become a better writer over time. You can become a better interviewer with each opportunity you get. You can develop better sources as you stick with your beat. But none of that is possible if the work ethic isn’t there. The best student intern we had at the newspaper nearly made me miserable because I couldn’t keep her busy enough. It was a good misery to have.