Joan Krauter stepping down as Bradenton Herald editor

Joan Krauter, who has led the Bradenton Herald for nearly 20 years, is stepping down as executive editor, Herald general manager Darren Haimer announced on Friday.

Krauter, 62, who is credited with overseeing the Herald’s wide-ranging local coverage while guiding its transition into the digital age with Bradenton.com, said she felt it was time to step back.

"Journalism today has never been more important or more challenging, and I’ve never backed down from a challenge,” Krauter said in a statement. “But I’ve decided it’s time for a reset."

Along with her duties as the newspaper’s top editor and vice president, Krauter also wrote a column “about regular women doing extraordinary things.”

“Joan’s passion for journalism and commitment to the community has fueled the success of the Bradenton Herald over the course of decades when the media industry has changed dramatically,” said Haimer, who is also vice president of advertising at the Herald. “Her energy, insight and strong work ethic have been an inspiration to me and her team as well.”

Under her leadership, Herald reporters focused an unsparing eye on Bradenton’s explosive growth and its housing-market busts, heroin and opioid crises, hurricane strikes and beleaguered public schools. But the paper also celebrated Manatee’s allure and quality of life.

“Covering the news accurately and respectfully today on multiple platforms can be daunting," Krauter said. "It also can be incredibly gratifying and exhilarating. I’m proud of the amazing work my staff has done throughout my tenure to maintain the Herald’s role as the dominant news source in Manatee County.”

Krauter came to the Herald in 1998 from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. A St. Louis native, she graduated from the University of Missouri’s famed journalism school. She got her first newspaper job at the Columbia Daily Tribune in Missouri and went on to stints at the Star-Telegram as well as editing jobs at The Denver Post and Long Island's Newsday.

Krauter, a breast-cancer survivor and champion of women’s causes, was honored earlier this month by the American Association of University Women as a Woman of Achievement and was named in 2015 one of the county’s 25 Wonder Women by the Women’s Resource Center of Manatee. She is also a former board member and president of the Florida Society of News Editors.

Her last day at the Herald is May 4. A leadership announcement is expected next week.