I have spent most of my professional life focused on two goals. The first is understanding and explaining complex issues. The second is finding stories that needed to be told.

I started as a reporter, learning how to discover and tell important stories. Then I was an editor, helping and teaching other reporters. My last job at a newspaper was as managing editor of the Winston-Salem Journal, running a print and digital newsroom of 90 journalists. We won lots of awards and lots of accolades, but we also forced readers to confront the problems in our community. That's what matters.

I resigned in 2010, because I disagreed with the decision to move the paper's copy desk out of state, away from our readers. I believe that sometimes the best thing that leaders can do is be true to their values and act accordingly.

Newspapers are ideal training grounds for learning how to excel under pressure and for exposing people to a wide variety of issues. As a reporter and editor, my areas of expertise include business, agriculture, health care, education and state and local politics. As an editor, I wrote a history column for five years and a blog on newsroom practices from 2006-2010.

Having been a senior manager at a large and sprawling operation gives me important insights into the financial, organizational and cultural issues that arise as institutions respond to change. I value teamwork and believe that collaboration and honest communication produce superior results.

I think of myself as a creative and disciplined person. I take a lot of pride
in what I do, but I also understand that we can always do better, listen harder and act more responsibly and with more compassion.

A few years ago, I did an interview with Talking Biz News about my life as a free-lance writer. It captures a lot of the highs and lows of the job, as well as my approach to projects. You can read it here.

My work

Ken Otterbourg