Columbia Daily Tribune columnist and KFRU/1400 AM radio host Tony Messenger announced Monday that he will leave his jobs later this month to work as the Springfield News-Leader’s editorial page editor.
Messenger joined the Tribune in 1999 as a city editor and began a weekly column the following October. Three years ago he became a full-time columnist, writing four columns a week.
Messenger joined KFRU/1400 AM in February 2005 and has a daily radio show at 4 p.m. In Springfield, he will write editorials and edit the editorial page.
Messenger said that while he is sad to leave Columbia, he is looking forward to the opportunity at the Springfield News-Leader.
“I love opinion writing, and I love the opportunity to persuade readers,” he said. “It was one of those steps that to me was really a no-brainer.”
Messenger said that he was most proud of his columns at the Tribune that kept the government accountable and the columns he called “David versus Goliath” — stories that voiced the plight of the underdog.
Messenger wrote extensively in the last two years about the Boone County Fire Protection District.
“I think the strength of his columns was the reporting that went into them,” Jim Robertson, managing editor of the Tribune, said. “It was more storytelling than opinion driven.”
Messenger will continue to write for the Tribune until April 18 and then join the News-Leader on April 24. While he doesn’t have any imminent plans to do radio in Springfield, he said he has talked to his editor about having a show in the future.
Before joining the Tribune seven years ago, Messenger was the publisher of a business magazine in Scottsdale, Ariz. He also worked at papers in Colorado, Nebraska and South Dakota.
The Springfield News-Leader has a daily circulation of 72,300 and is the third largest paper in Missouri, according the Audit Bureau of Circulations.