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News-Journal Redemption: Krys Fluker Is Paper’s New Editorial Page Editor

| October 17, 2018

Krys Fluker, when we were neighbors. (c FlaglerLive)

Krys Fluker, when we were neighbors. (c FlaglerLive)

It’s not often anymore that I wake up to delightful news. These days the pre-dawn check of the headlines means automatic morning sickness. Not this morning. Krys Fluker, that scrappy survivor and my old colleague at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, was just appointed editorial page editor there.

pierre tristamThe appointment is about 10 years late, but blaming newspapers for being behind the times is old news. The Jurassic masthead chose well. We have a true reporter, an elegant writer, a fount of compassion, a regional native who knows her Volusia as well as she knows her Flagler, and best of all (for me) a liberal back in charge, tactically closeted though she may have to keep her liberalism from time to time: it’s not by chance she’s survived the newspaper’s ideological scissorhands for so long. 

Krys and I were colleague for almost 10 years, working out of two adjoining offices at the far edge of the News-Journal’s left-wing heresies. That was back when mid-size family-owned papers like the News-Journal still had luxurious editorial page departments. Ours was led by Dave Wiggins, with Krys, me, Pamela Hasterock, the late Kay Semion, cartoonist Bruce Beatty and my old flame and letters editor Kathleen Casey forming the editorial board. Don Lindley, the paper’s editor, always joined us for the morning conference when we debated and sometimes brawled over how to save the world. Imagine that: an editorial board of eight. These days I’m not sure the entire News-Journal has so much as eight reporters left. 

We were all lefties but until my arrival there made her look conservative Krys was the reigning heretic. Her specialties included among many others state politics (she’d been a statehouse reporter in Tallahassee, and she’s still my go-to source for shortcuts there), law, social services, health care and mental health: it was Krys who made me realize we have a grave and still unaddressed mental health crisis in our two counties. It was Krys who frequently got me right-size up when I’d find myself channeling Gregor Samsa.

I may have stolen the Flagler beat from her when I got there, but torrents of Cokes and Mountain Dews helping she could write on any subject, any time, under whatever deadline, and still produce a cogent argument that never lacked heart or understanding for the human beings behind the newsprint. Plus, she could layout pages, a skill I never learned. She and I were the workhorses, producing the majority of the paper’s editorials that decade, so Pat Rice’s brief announcement this morning that she’s written “numerous editorials” is a bit of an understatement: she’s written many thousands, a pace ended only after the putsch of  2010.

That April all of us still on the editorial board were fired, with Krys’s exception. Krys was relegated to production and editing letters during the News-Journal’s dark age under Halifax Media, which–give it credit–presciently tuned the editorial page into an advance guard and panderer of Trump-gestating eclampsia. Halifax sold out to Gatehouse Media before the Dear Leader’s  accession. Gatehouse being more interested in ideologically colorless money, the paper’s editorial page began moving from fact-denying 1933 nostalgia back to a measure of civility and journalistic coherence. Not surprisingly, Krys’s re-emergence had a lot to do with that. She redeemed the editorial page, as I expect she’ll now humanize it further. 

I’m sure the whole gang from the old board is as proud and jubilant as I am, dotage permitting. Kay must be doing flips over galaxies. And Krys, this one, which you should remember me playing next-door a few times, not always with irony (my namesake wrote it after all), is for you: 

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here or follow him @PierreTristam.

9 Responses for “News-Journal Redemption: Krys Fluker Is Paper’s New Editorial Page Editor”

  1. Lou says:

    The newspaper system to survive need to be balanced.
    I cancelled my subscription a long time ago.
    How about weekly guest editorials on Flagler Live to to expose readers to new ideas?
    How about it Pierre?

  2. Tommy Coconuts says:

    That was a long time ago..
    She won’t be there much

    The Senior Management Team
    is grasping @ straws Daily…..

    The building has..Real Bad Karma.
    Thank God I got out,
    It’s a Beach day here @ Flagler Beach.

  3. TPG - Voice of Truth says:

    Krys and Pierre will help keep the progressive flame alive in Flagler/Volusia. Revolutions are built on small but consequential “victories” like this.

  4. palmcoaster says:

    That is nice you highlighting the current success of your former colleage in the DBNJ.
    I am glad Pierre you decided to create Flagerlive for Flagler County its cities and beyond in spite that, as is normal, sometimes we do not agree in some issue.
    You keep us alert of the government agendas to be decided in their meetings affecting our lives and financial security. For that we should all thank you and also collaborate at least with your dollar a month pledge in support of FL.

  5. Stranger in a strange land says:

    I have submitted letters to the NJ over the years and Krys was always pleasant, helpful, and professional. Congratulations to her on her new position!

  6. gmath55 says:

    Good for Krys Fluker. Not so good for all the people the News Journal laid off due to Davidson’s poor management practices. They still have dinosaur printing presses and should look into Germany’s offset presses. Every day brings more news of layoffs, bankruptcies, and closings in the print journalism industry. Newspapers are dying because of radio, TV and the Internet. Prices keep going up and circulation keeps going down. But what actually will happen remains anybody’s guess. But, hey the newspaper is excellent for cleaning my car windows to a streak-free shine with vinegar, ammonia and distilled water.

  7. Krys says:

    It’s always true, I think that when we are living it we never realize how much fun we are having. That was such a great time in my life and you were such a huge part of it, Pierre. Working with you was sometimes exhilarating, a tiny bit of the time infuriating, always stimulating and never, ever, ever boring — because if it got boring, one or both of us went looking to get ourselves in trouble :)

    I do remember a few things a little differently, like you giving me that exasperated “you call yourself a liberal” look about 18 times a week, LOL.(And TBH, I have always self-identified as a blue dog).

    You are a great journalist, and I am awed at what you’ve accomplished here.

  8. Krys says:

    As an addendum to my last post:

    I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t point out that Scott Kent was the one who set the tone of inclusiveness and local-ness (not a word, but hey, should be) for the page that you and a lot of other people noticed. One of the great sorrows of my life is that I never got to see the two of you work together. You would have been neck-deep in a bromance within the hour. I have never known two people who waded into argument with such joyful combativeness and fiendish glee. :)

    It would have been Clash of the Very Smart Titans! I could fund my retirement selling tickets. and both of you would have been in heaven.

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