Gilligan: Tradition continues with young leaders at TH

By now, the names Jeff Montgomery and Allie Hinga are familiar to Telegraph Herald readers from their many bylines in our paper.

Jeff has covered the business beat at the TH since December 2013, including writing Biz Buzz, one of our most popular features.

Allie long has been a visible presence in Dubuque area schools as our education reporter, working on that beat since April 2016.

I’m excited to have both Jeff and Allie taking on new responsibilities and joining our newsroom management team. Jeff now holds the title of business editor, and Allie has been promoted to the new position of assistant news editor.

In their new roles, Jeff and Allie are taking on some editing duties and helping oversee the local news team and the TH’s coverage in both the print editions and online. In these roles, they will continue to report to Managing Editor Dustin Kass.

At the same time, we will keep Jeff and Allie writing on their beats. Jeff will continue to be the TH’s lead business reporter, and Allie will remain the primary education reporter. Other TH reporters also will provide some assistance in those areas. We anticipate hiring another reporter soon to further beef up the staff.

Jeff is a native of Hawthorn Woods, Ill., and graduated with a journalism degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2008. He formerly worked as a reporter for The Journal-Standard in Freeport, Ill., and The North Scott Press in Eldridge, Iowa.

Since arriving in Dubuque, Jeff has won nearly a dozen statewide reporting awards in the Iowa Newspaper Association and Associated Press Media Editors contests. At this time last year, Jeff’s TH business coverage was named the best in the state among Iowa’s largest newspapers.

Allie hails from the suburbs of Houston and graduated from University of Missouri in 2014 with degrees in journalism and English. She completed internships at the TH and The Kansas City Star, then worked at The Joplin (Mo.) Globe before coming to Dubuque.

During her time at the TH, she has garnered seven statewide reporting awards. This time last year, Allie won both the Jay P. Wagner Prize for Young Journalists, as well as the Genevieve Mauck Stoufer Outstanding Young Iowa Journalist Award. And, for the third time, she won honors for her coverage of education.

Speaking of the statewide newspaper honors, the 2020 awards will be announced later this week, and we already know that Jeff and Allie both are among the top three in the state for coverage of business and education, respectively. That’s pretty cool, given that different editors review each other’s work for these awards year to year. For example, last year, we Iowa editors judged Virginia’s newspapers, and this year it’s Oklahoma’s. Editors from other states, likewise, are judging our work. And different groups of newspaper editors, year after year, have found both Jeff’s and Allie’s work to be consistently strong. Pretty telling.

Stay tuned — this week we’ll be excited to report the awards that our work garners.

I’m proud of the fact that with the addition of Jeff and Allie, all of our newsroom managers have been promoted from within, cutting their teeth in an entry-level position at the TH and growing into a leadership role. Journalism — especially these days — is based on trust. Readers must trust that the individuals doing the reporting and editing are earnest and forthright in their interest in telling the whole story, asking the tough questions and finding balance. That we have been able to develop and nurture careers here with individuals who have become part of our community helps build our credibility. I’m proud to have Jeff and Allie continue this tradition.