Michael Gartner, 58, is the editor and co-owner of The Daily Tribune in Ames, Iowa. He has had a long and varied career in journalism, starting when he began answering phones in the sports department of The Des Moines Register at age 15. Over the years, he has been Page One Editor of The Wall Street Journal; editor and president of The Des Moines Register; general news executive of Gannett Co. and USA Today; editor of the Courier-Journal of Louisville; and president of NBC News.
He has been, at various times, a regular columnist for the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal and more recently, a weekly columnist for the op-ed page of USA Today. He is a commentator on Iowa Public Radio and the Voice of America. He is a past president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, a former member of the board of advisers of the Nieman Fellow program at Harvard, a former member (for 10 years) and chairman (one year) of the Pulitzer Prize Board, and a former fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
He is on the board of advisers of the First Amendment Center of the Freedom Forum at Vanderbilt University and of the Freedom Forum's new Newseum in Arlington, Virginia.
A lawyer as well as a newspaperman, Gartner is a graduate of the Law School of New York University and a member of the bar in New York and Iowa. He writes frequently on First Amendment issues. His editorials in Ames have won many awards -- including the ASNE editorial-writing award and the Inland Press Association award for best editorials.
Gartner is a third-generation Iowa newspaperman. His maternal grandfather was city editor of the now-defunct Waterloo Morning Tribune, and his father was a writer and editor at The Des Moines Register for more than 40 years. Gartner's wife, the former Barbara McCoy, was a copy editor at The Wall Street Journal when they met. The Gartners have a 26-year-old daughter, Melissa, who lives in the Twin Cities, and a 17-year-old son, Mike, who is a high-school junior. Their other son, Christopher, died in 1994 at age 17.