Stephen Buckley, the son of Jamaican immigrants who taught their children the value of reading newspapers, got his start at the St. Petersburg Times as a 16-year-old intern. On Thursday, he was named the newspaper's managing editor.
"Stephen's credentials stood strong amid a field of outstanding candidates from both inside and outside the Times," said executive editor Neil Brown. "His easygoing, engaging manner and clear passion for helping colleagues do their best work led me to conclude that this appointment is very right for our Times."
For the past two years, Buckley, has served as the Times' assistant managing editor/world, overseeing national and international news.
"I could not be more thrilled," Buckley said. "Obviously, the St. Petersburg Times has been a part of my life for 21 years now. They say you can't go home again but that's absolutely untrue, at least in my case."
Buckley, 37, is the newspaper's first black managing editor. He succeeds Brown, who was managing editor for nine years and was named executive editor in August.
Born in England, Buckley lived briefly in Canada before his parents sent him and his older brother to live with relatives in Jamaica while they became financially stable.
Buckley rejoined his parents in Queens, N.Y., in 1973 and the family moved to St. Petersburg in 1977.
"I grew up in what was very much a newspaper-reading family," Buckley said. "I remember my parents asking us every day about stuff in the newspaper. And it was very embarrassing if you didn't know the answer."
Buckley said it was his mother, a nurse, who encouraged him to pursue a career in journalism, presenting him with a copy of On Writing Well when he was 13.
As the Times' assistant managing editor/world, Buckley rebuilt the newspaper's Washington bureau, supervised the creation of a second daily front page devoted to national and international news called Times 2 and edited major stories and projects.
Buckley first walked into the Times' newsroom as a high school intern who turned a stint as a copy clerk into a chance to write sports stories.
After graduating from Duke University with a degree in political science, Buckley began working for the Washington Post. He started his career as a metro reporter, covering education in the D.C. suburbs.
After five years, he became a foreign correspondent, based first in Nairobi, Kenya, and later in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In 1998, Buckley won the National Association of Black Journalists' first-place award for international reporting, and the InterAction award for humanitarian reporting. He also was an international reporting finalist that year for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists.
Buckley returned to the St. Petersburg Times in 2001 as a national reporter. The following year, he won the Paul Hansell Distinguished Journalism Award from the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, one of the state's highest writing honors.
Buckley will direct the news operation based in St. Petersburg and oversee the day-to-day news report. His first day will be Monday.
"My job will simply be to hold the St. Petersburg Times to its own high standards every day," he said.
Buckley is married to Cathleen Buckley, a science teacher. They have two children, David, 5, and Olivia, 7.