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Fresno Bee Editor Who Battled Devin Nunes Is Leaving After 5 Years



Fresno Bee executive editor Joe Kieta says he is leaving the paper. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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Fresno Bee executive editor Joe Kieta is leaving the hive.

“(I will) leave The Fresno Bee and McClatchy in late spring. I’m proud of our accomplishments, which include change-making journalism and the establishment of donor-supported reporting labs that have added back important reporting firepower,” Kieta wrote on Twitter.

Kieta joined The Fresno Bee in 2018 following the retirement of executive editor Jim Boren in 2018.

Battled Nunes, Newsroom Budget Cuts

Nunes Fresno Bee mailer

A 40-page mailer the Devin Nunes campaign sent to voters in September 2018.  (GV Wire File)

Most famously, Kieta stood toe-to-toe with former Congressman Devin Nunes during the Tulare Republican’s relentless attacks and lawsuits against mainstream media outlets.

The Bee angered Nunes by publishing a story about a lawsuit against a winery that Nunes was financially invested in. Both the story and Nunes’ later lawsuit against The Bee’s parent company drew national attention to the paper.

Tasked with leading the local papers as McClatchy emerged from bankruptcy, Kieta oversaw cost-cutting moves that saw several longtime Bee reporters and editors exit. Circulation declined, as the paper relied more on digital delivery.

The Bee also lost its physical locations, moving away from its longtime building at 1626 E Street (since sold to the city of Fresno). The paper leased space briefly from technology and real estate company Bitwise before that deal went sour. Reporters and editors now work remotely.

Under Kieta’s watch, The Bee relied on nonprofit organizations to supply reporters, including Fresnoland — using “documenters” to report on government meetings, even though some represent units of public government or are leaders of local political parties.

A Cleveland native, Kieta’s resume also includes editing another McClatchy paper, The Modesto Bee, as well as newspapers in Columbus, Georgia, and Utica, New York.

Replaced by Regional Editor

McClatchy will now use one manager to oversee its Central Valley newspapers under the title of Central Valley Executive Editor. McClatchy hired Don Blount to oversee the Fresno Bee, Modesto Bee, and Merced Sun-Star.

Blount, a 20-year journalism veteran, most recently served as executive editor of The Stockton Record. He also has prior stops at The Modesto Bee, The Sacramento Bee, The Denver Post, and The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania).

“We are creating a new leadership structure for our Central Valley newsrooms with the aim of improving collaboration and delivering more high-impact journalism that serves all of our communities,” a company announcement said.

It is not clear whether Blount will work in Fresno.

Bee Alumni Wish Kieta Well

Kieta’s announcement brought praise from Bee alumni.

“Joe transformed journalism at The Bee at a critical time and lots of my former colleagues were served by his leadership. Congrats on what’s next and also what you’ve accomplished!” Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado, a former Bee writer and now news director at Valley Public Radio tweeted.

Other current and former Bee reporters shared similar sentiments.

Some Bee alumni who did not want to be identified had less kind words for Kieta, who laid off veteran staffers and replaced them with younger, less costly journalists.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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