Billings Gazette reporter Mike Ferguson has been selected as the next editor of the Presbyterian News Service in Louisville, Kentucky.
His last day as city/county reporter at The Gazette will be Oct. 23. He will start the national post at the denomination’s headquarters Oct. 29.
Ferguson has spent much of his professional career as a newspaper reporter, starting as a sports writer for the Medford Mail Tribune in Medford, Oregon, in 1990 and covering several small towns in the newspaper’s circulation area for another year after that.
He worked at two different newspapers in Weatherford, Oklahoma, for five years and then moved to the Baker City Herald in Baker City, Oregon, for the next nine years. Ferguson covered city and county government there, and then continued the same beat when he was hired by the Muscatine Journal in Muscatine, Iowa.
Ferguson's moves to the different papers came when his wife, Susan Barnes, a clergywoman with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), accepted the call to a new church.
“I always followed her to her next stop,” Ferguson said. “Providentially, the newspapers were looking for reporters at each of those places.”
Since 2006, Ferguson has volunteered at the denomination’s biennial general assembly as a member of the newsroom. Now he will take up that responsibility full time.
“It gives me the chance to blend faith and journalism in combination,” he said. “There are very few jobs like that.”
Ferguson will help tell the stories of the denomination and its 1.4 million members. His new post will involve reporting and posting articles on PNS news channels, carrying out the denomination’s strategic communications plan, coordinating with social media and editing other staff writers' stories.
Writing about people is something Ferguson has enjoyed throughout his career, whether it’s dealing with human trafficking or making downtown streets safe.
“There are all kinds of unsung heroes out there that people need to know about,” he said. “That’s what gets me up in the morning.”