Passing of the torch

Introducing the next editor of the CN&R

As I’ve often said about my tenure at the CN&R, I’ve been working here long enough to have quit twice and been fired once. Well, I’m about to quit again, this time for good. I’m retiring at the end of May, after nearly 30 years at the paper, off and on.

I’ll no doubt do some reminiscing in upcoming columns, but for now I want to introduce my successor, our current managing editor, Melissa Daugherty. She will have the distinction of becoming the first female editor-in-chief in the paper’s history. About time, I say.

Originally from the East Bay, Melissa’s long had ties to this area. Her grandparents owned an almond and walnut farm outside of Hamilton City, and she spent many holidays here with them and her cousins. So it was natural for her to attend Chico State, where she majored in journalism and worked for three semesters on The Orion student paper.

After graduation in 2003, she took a paid internship with the Enterprise-Record, eventually going full time there, covering the town of Paradise and Glenn County. But her best beat, she says in a short bio she provided me, was Chico State, where she “broke some pretty big stories, many picked up by AP.”

Some of the highlights, she writes, include a story about the Chico fraternity whose members had sex with porn stars filming a video for a Van Nuys-based porn company; a story about an L.A. Times reporter who parachuted into Chico, got his article all wrong, and when Melissa busted him got fired; and her investigative piece about the death of Chi Tau pledge Matthew Carrington in a hazing ritual in which she revealed that his would-be frat brothers had been warned during a campus lecture that water hazing could be lethal.

In 2007 she moved over to the CN&R, where she’s filled almost every major role at the paper—Greenways editor, special-projects editor, news editor and managing editor—in addition to writing more than 140 stories. Along the way she and her boyfriend, Matt, managed to get married and have a baby together.

I’ve worked with Melissa for six years, so I know she’ll be a great editor. She’s got all the right skills, she knows the area well, her colleagues respect and like her, she’s a superb content and copy editor, and she writes beautifully. She could work anywhere, but she and Matt love Chico and are fully committed to this community, so here they’ll stay.

Please welcome Melissa to her new role. She can be reached at

Robert Speer is editor of the CN&R.