The Austin American statesman has named Courtney Sebesta as editor-in-chief, and the former writer and editor will take on a new role helping lead the news and digital direction of the 151-year-old Texas paper.
Sebesta will start on Dec. 5 after stepping down as director of digital optimization for the Gannett USA Today Network.
After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas, Sebesta joined the Statesman in 2002 and held several editorial positions and as a feature and style editor.
She was promoted to digital editor in 2015, overseeing Statesman.com, Austin360.com and Hookem.com before taking a senior role at Gatehouse Media while owning the Statesman in 2018.
Sebesta was promoted to Senior Director of Audience Development for the network, a position she retained in 2019 under new ownership of Statesman and with an appointment to become Director of Digital Operations in the Sunbelt and Sunbelt regions. of the Midwest for Gannett, which merged with Gatehouse to create the largest newspaper company in the country.
“I am honored to return to Austin American-Statesman and help lead the newsroom where I began my career as a journalist,” Sebesta said. “Our work must have impact, hold those in power to account and be a catalyst for change around the challenges we face as a community.”
Sebesta’s hiring comes after former editor Andy Alford left the Statesman in March to join the Texas Tribune.
During those months Bob Gee, Texas Politics and Education Editor, served as acting editor.
“I also have to give my heartfelt thanks to Bob Gee, who served with great distinction as interim editor,” said editor Manny García. “During this time, Bob has provided his voice of confidence while helping lead our most sensitive and critical projects.”
Gee will leave the Statesman on November 11 after accepting the position of Texas bureau chief at Axios.
“Courtney will be focused on leading our core audience and growing subscriptions,” García said in a statement to staffers Tuesday. “She is a journalist who brings to her work rigour, sense of organization, sense of urgency and creativity.”
Andy Sevilla, currently associate editor, will take on additional responsibilities to lead policy and education and oversee editorial teams for local government, business, technology, public safety and five community publications. He will begin his new role as deputy editor on November 14.
“I am deeply honored to help lead the talented journalists at The Statesman,” Sevilla said. “I am inspired by them and their incredible work day in and day out, and hope to contribute to their top-notch reporting.”
Sevilla, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas State University, joined the Statesman in March 2015 as community news editor. Earlier this year, he was promoted to associate editor and diversity, equity and inclusion training coordinator.
“Andy is a bilingual journalist who also leads our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts,” García said. “He brings a nuanced eye to news coverage, from a statewide perspective to local news.”
Sebesta will manage audience growth, sports, visuals and Austin360.
“With Courtney and Andy in their new roles, the Statesman is solidly positioned to thrive and grow in the years to come,” García said. “They are quality leaders and quality individuals.”
In a major newsroom promotion, Austin City Hall reporter Ryan Autullo is the statesman’s new chief political reporter. Autullo, a seasoned journalist, will lead coverage of the Texas government and the governor. Autullo is a former sports journalist who covered the courts and is known for his source material and corporate reporting.
“I am honored to be Texas’ next chief political reporter for the American Statesman,” Autullo said. this state.