Aki Soga was named executive editor of the Burlington Free Press. He joined the Gannett-owned daily newspaper in 1991 and was most recently the engagement editor.
When asked about the significance of becoming the paper’s first Asian American executive director, Soga responded, “People seeing someone like me as editor of a Vermont newsroom hopefully opens the way to a broader perspective of what our community looks like.”
The vice president of Local News Initiatives at Gannett, Hollis Towns, said that Soga’s deep commitment to the representation of diverse voices and local interests will usher the Free Press into the future.
Soga has worked in news, features, and opinions during his time at the Free Press. He was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his editorials on open government in 2012.
Veteran Vermont journalist Mike Donoghue said that Soga is well-equipped for the role and has always known that he has been a firm believer in the public’s right to know, both with open meetings, public records, and government transparency.
As Vermont is becoming more diverse Soga noted the importance for major institutions in the community to reflect diversity from top to bottom.“Our challenge is to keep producing stories that are relevant to people’s lives that they’re gonna want to read,” he said, comparing the society and Free Press from 20 years ago.
Being a person of color, he hopes that the experiences he has had will make him more aware of the different perspectives that people can have and the possibility that people can see the situation or the world from a different angle. This is something that he describes as being essential to being both a journalist and a leader in a newsroom.