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Akron ME to be St. Paul's editorial page editor

ST. PAUL, Minn.—The St. Paul Pioneer Press named veteran journalist Mike Burbach as its editorial page editor Wednesday.

Burbach, 46, has been the managing editor of the Akron Beacon Journal, a 142,000-circulation newspaper just south of Cleveland, Ohio, since 2004.

Burbach is scheduled to start work Feb. 13. He replaces Art Coulson, who resigned earlier this month.

"The word I was getting on this guy is that he really is a unique talent, so he was my No. 1 candidate," said Knight Ridder Newspapers Publisher Par Ridder. "As luck would have it_I didn't know it at the time_but his wife's from the Twin Cities so a lot of things came together at the right time."

Burbach described himself as a political independent. He has more than two decades of newspaper experience, as well as a variety of other jobs, ranging from meat cutter to bartender.

"I've always loved editorial pages," Burbach said. "We, as an industry, underuse them. I think they are a great thing. They are of great strategic value, meaning that part of what newspapers do is reflect and create communities."

Burbach grew up in Kansas and North Dakota and graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1982. He's worked in various reporting and editing jobs at the Grand Forks Herald, the Aberdeen American News, the Minot Daily News and the Detroit Free Press. He was vice president and executive editor at the Columbus Ledger Enquirer in Georgia from 1997 to 2004, before joining the Akron Beacon Journal.

Burbach declined to address specific issues that he's likely to face in the Twin Cities, including stadium funding and state spending. "I probably have knee-jerk opinions on all of them, but they're not informed yet and I intend for them to be informed," he said.

Ridder said he wants Burbach to bring a different perspective to the paper's editorial pages. "The editorial pages are too often gray and don't challenge readers enough to think differently," he said.

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(c) 2006, St. Paul Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.).

Visit the World Wide Web site of the Pioneer Press at http://www.twincities.com/mld/pioneerpress/

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

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