Jesse Wright steps in as new editor of The News

Published 11:27 am Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The new year saw a new person taking up the editorial reins at The Port Arthur News.

Jesse Wright stepped into the editorship Jan. 16, on MLK Day, with more than 17 years of journalistic and newspaper experience under his belt.

“We are excited to have Jesse join us at The Port Arthur News,” Rich Macke, publisher, said. “His vast experience in news-collecting and journalism will greatly help us to continue moving forward in our commitment to bring The Greater Port Arthur Area the local news that is important to them.”

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Wright, 38, was born in California but raised in Corpus Christi. His relationship with newspapers started early, as he worked for his high school’s newspaper.

“I was on staff in high school,” Wright said. “I worked in news all through college and graduation. My first real job was in 2001 with Brenham.”

Wright attended Stephen F. Austin State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications. He later earned a Masters in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi.

“I felt shortchanged by a journalism degree (because) I wanted to take more history classes. I’m fascinated by the history of the South. Corpus Christi never felt really Southern to me,” he said.

Wright worked for the local paper in Brenham from 2001 to 2003. He then spent significant time outside of Texas doing volunteer work.

“The last time I was in Texas was in 2003 when I worked for Brenham Banner-Press,” Wright said. “In 2003, I signed up for the Peace Corps and went to Haiti for six months.”

Wright then volunteered in East Timor with the Peace Corps until Dec. 2005, where he continued afterward as a teacher and foreign correspondent.

“While overseas, I wrote for a number of publications on a freelance basis,” Wright said.

He returned to newspapers full time in 2012 when he worked for the Clarksdale Press Register in Clarksdale, Miss., until 2015. He has worked as an editor since 2013.

“I was kind of thrust into it when our senior guy left,” Wright said. “But I’ve enjoyed it. It’s very detail-oriented.”

Boone Newspaper hired Wright in 2015, where he worked for The Picayune Item in Picayune, Miss., from ’15 to ’16 and then worked at The Bogalusa Daily News in Louisiana until this year.

In discussing why he chose journalism, Wright cited his childhood.

“When I was growing up, one of the things I used to obsess over was knowing what went on in the world,” Wright said. “Even as a child, I enjoyed watching news and reading the newspaper.

“It might have been because I was an only child, but I was naturally curious in what was going on in the adult world.”

Wright spoke of the positive difference journalism could make in communities.

“It’s the tremendous opportunity to make a difference and to fight for the community,” he said. “I always liked getting involved in community events and community news.”

For Wright, reporting on the news has been something he has been associated with for more than 20 years.

“I’ve been in some form of this since I was 15 in high school,” Wright said.

“The thing about journalism is when it’s done right, it’s not mysterious. At its best, every citizen can see what the job is. They can see the result in the final product.”

In discussing any possible misconceptions about newspaper work, Wright said,

“There’s this misconception. People ask me: ‘What about the secrets? What big secrets do you have?’ I tell them that if we have secrets, they’re in the newspaper.”