Katy Smith will lead a new integrated business desk for both publications, which Erica Thompson will join to focus on issues of race and inclusion.

Columbus CEO editor Katy Smith will become Business Editor for The Columbus Dispatch in January, and she will continue as editor of CEO.

At the same time, Dispatch reporter Erica Thompson will join the Dispatch Business Desk as the new Ohio regional business reporter covering issues of race and inclusion in business and the economy.

Thompson is filling one of 12 new regional reporting roles created by Gannett corporate leaders as part of the company’s commitment earlier this year to increasing diversity in newsroom staffing and in news coverage.

Thompson, who grew up near Cincinnati, earned a bachelor’s degree from Northern Kentucky University and a master’s degree in journalism from Ohio University. She worked as a writer and assistant editor for Columbus Alive from 2016 to 2019, when she joined the Dispatch staff writing news and features.

"Erica has a keen sense for news, and she has demonstrated her ability to report complex topics in human terms and a conversational style," said Dispatch Editor Alan Miller. "And Katy is a proven leader who is passionate about good journalism, serving the community and reaching new audiences through digital storytelling."

Smith will lead an integrated Business Desk, with the goal of leveraging the assets of the Dispatch and CEO teams to produce content across print and digital, and daily and monthly platforms.

Smith, originally from Bexley, is a Kent State University graduate who interned at The Dispatch in 2002 during college. After graduation, she went to work for Suburban News Publications, covering Columbus suburbs as a reporter and editor. She then worked for Columbus Business First, first as a copy editor and then, from 2013 to 2018, as managing editor for print. She worked for a short time in the creative department for COTA before coming to CEO as editor in 2019.

"I’m excited to play a part in the critical collaboration that’s ahead for us," Smith said. "It’s my belief that to best serve our readers and the community, we need to work in a smart way and together."

Thompson will join the Business team the last week of December. Smith will start at The Dispatch on Jan. 4.