Sam Davis, a Baltimore native who climbed the ranks of The Baltimore Sun since starting as a clerk 36 years ago, is the publication's new managing editor.
Trif Alatzas, The Sun's publisher and editor-in-chief, made the announcement in an email to staff Monday.
Davis will be the first African-American to hold the position in the newspaper's 179-year history. He has been an assistant managing editor for the past three years. In his new role as managing editor of The Baltimore Sun Media Group, Davis will oversee day-to-day coverage by The Sun, as well as other publications, including weekly community papers.
The promotion clarifies internal lines of authority since a reorganization in March, when Alatzas became both publisher and editor-in-chief, combining what had been separate positions.
"He's a terrific journalist and he knows Baltimore and the region well, so I think he's perfect for this role," Alatzas said.
Davis, 56, grew up in Easterwood in West Baltimore and graduated from Carver Vocational-Technical High School, developing a love of reading from the comics and sports pages, as well as cast-off books his father, an employee at paper recycler Chesapeake Paperboard Co., salvaged from work.
He got his start in journalism while attending community college, where he covered sports for the school paper and worked for The Baltimore Afro-American. A graduate of Coppin State University and father of three adult daughters, he began at The Sun in 1980 as a sports clerk, becoming a reporter in 1985 and editor in 1992.
"I thought I would miss writing but I didn't," he said. "I was made to be a manager, I think. … I like sort of sitting back and watching all the pieces come together and giving folks direction and helping folks improve as reporters and writers, and making sure they have all the things they need to do that."
Davis, who lives in Reisterstown, was the first member of his family to graduate from college, and he led The Sun's recruiting initiatives for several years as an editor in a profession that remains largely white.
Baltimore Sun librarian Paul McCardell contributed to this article.