Juneau Empire publisher departs abruptly

The Juneau Empire on Channel Drive. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

There’s been more turnover at the top of Juneau’s daily newspaper. Publisher Rustan Burton has left the Juneau Empire after nearly four years at the helm, according to a brief article posted Wednesday afternoon on the newspaper’s website.

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His departure follows the managing editor and two reporters in recent weeks. Top editor Charles Westmoreland left at the end of December after five years at the paper. And reporters Lisa Phu and Sam DeGrave also left at the end of last month.

The Juneau Empire article gave no reason for the publisher’s departure. The article said he’d left to take an unspecified job in the Midwest. Burton said he was on a family vacation and declined further comment.

Deputy editor Emily Russo Miller has been serving as interim managing editor since Christmas Eve. A new cops reporter started work this week.

The article quoted Burton as saying he was “grateful” for the opportunity at the Empire. The Juneau Empire is owned by Georgia-based Morris Communications. The article said Kenai-based group publisher Deedie McKenzie will serve as publisher in the interim.