By Glenn Rutherford, Record Editor
When Marnie McAllister was a young woman — a recent graduate of Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina — she held a notion in her heart that one day she’d return to her hometown in Louisville and work as a reporter for The Record.
And she did.
She began working for The Record as a reporter 13 years ago. Prior to that, life’s meandering had taken her to Moultrie, Ga., where she spent her childhood, and to the college in North Carolina. Now, at age 37, the former Marnie Grose is set to become the newspaper’s youngest — and first female — editor.
In a recent interview at The Record’s office in the Maloney Center, McAllister — an English literature major and philosophy minor in college — said she realized late in her college years that journalism might be in her future.
“I was an intern at the Gaston (N.C.) Gazette in 2000 after I graduated from college,” she recalled. “And I knew then that journalism was my calling.”
But not necessarily the type of journalism practiced by most daily newspapers, it should be noted.
During her internship, she was asked by an editor to interview a man who’d just lost everything he owned in a house fire. The
unfortunate fellow understandably didn’t want to talk about his loss, but her editors didn’t want to take “no” for an answer.
“They kept saying ‘call him back; he really wants to talk,’ but I refused,” she said. She wasn’t about to bother this man again in the midst of such a tragedy.
And she knew, then, that the type of journalism she wanted to pursue was the type the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Louisville produces — journalism tethered to a sense of mission and ministry.
“If I had written a story about the fire,” she explained, “I would have written about what might have been done to help this man and others like him — and that’s the kind of stories we do at The Record.”
McAllister became the newspaper’s assistant editor four years ago when long-time editor Joseph Duerr retired. Then assistant editor Glenn Rutherford became the editor, and McAllister was named not only the assistant editor, but the editor of digital publishing for The Record. In 2012, she created the paper’s first website, therecordnewspaper.org.
Now Rutherford is retiring at the end of the year and McAllister will assume the paper’s leadership role on Jan. 1. She and staff writer Jessica Able will be joined by a new staff member, Ruby Thomas. Rutherford, whose career in journalism began in 1964, has been named editor emeritus of the paper, and will produce a dozen or more editorials over the coming year. He will also supplement The Record’s reporting coverage when help is needed.
So what does McAllister envision for the paper in the months and years ahead?
“I hope to see the print version of the paper continue to be an essential news source for the local Catholic community — to continue its tradition of excellence that I knew about growing up two states away,” she said. “I also hope to continue to build our readership and engagement with the community online.”
Marnie and Brian McAllister live in the Clifton neighborhood with their sons Leo, 8, and Voss, 4. They attend St. Frances of Rome Church.