Michelle Morgante, former assistant chief of bureau for the Associated Press in Miami, has been appointed bureau chief for Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Morgante, 44, succeeds Randy Picht, who was named executive director of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism, his alma mater. As chief of bureau, Morgante will be responsible for leading business development and account management in the four-state region, ensuring AP meets the market needs of members and customers. She will be based in Minneapolis.
Morgante has recently helped direct publisher accounts for iCircular, a mobile advertising solution developed by the AP for newspapers. The interactive shopping tool, launched last year by AP and 40 member newspapers, is now being rolled out to the broader industry.
"Michelle brings a range of domestic and international experience to this assignment, as well as a history of building strong relationships with members based on a keen understanding of their needs. Her most recent work on iCircular made her part of an innovative AP project to help members develop revenue streams on mobile platforms," Kate Lee Butler, AP vice president for U.S. Newspaper Markets, said Friday. "Randy Picht has served the AP well in numerous positions over the years, creating services and working on special teams when critical needs arose. We will miss him but know he will continue to serve the news industry -- during a period of great change -- in his role at the Reynolds Institute."
Before taking on the iCircular assignment earlier this year, Morgante spent more than six years as assistant chief of bureau for Florida, adding business manager for the Caribbean to her responsibilities. She began her AP career in 1991 in Detroit and later worked in bureaus in Denver and Portland, Ore.
Morgante was named an editor on the AP's international desk in New York in 1996 and was assigned to the Mexico City bureau in 1998, reporting in cities across Mexico and in Panama, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Cuba and Colombia. She was named administrative correspondent in San Diego in 2000.
A native of Lindsay, Calif., Morgante is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara. She is active in the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Picht, 52, began his AP career in Albany, N.Y., in 1983 and worked in bureaus in Rochester, N.Y., St. Louis, and Kansas City, Mo., before transferring to New York as business news editor in 1997. He was appointed director of the cooperative's stock market tables operation in 2000.
In 2002, Picht was named to lead Capitolwire, an Internet startup business purchased by the AP. He was appointed chief of bureau for Missouri and Kansas in 2005 before taking on a series of special assignments for the AP beginning in 2008.