The Williamsport Sun-Gazette and www.sungazette.com are pleased to announce the promotion of several old and new staff members as the community newspaper strengthens its market reach with robust print and online content, while saying a “good retirement” to its longtime publisher.
L. Lee “Laura” Janssen retires this Friday, October 1, after a dynamic 38-year career in journalism.
With Janssen’s departure, Mike Maneval has been promoted to editor-in-chief and Karen Vibert-Kennedy, the multimedia editor of the Sun-Gazette, takes on the additional role of editor.
Together, the two will lead the Sun-Gazette press team.
Additionally, Katelyn Hibbard has been appointed Editor-in-Chief, while Marty Weaver and Mallorie McIlwain have become Associate Editors.
Maneval graduated with a BA in Journalism with minors in Political Science and Religious Studies from Penn State University in 2003. As a high school student he interned at Mountain Home News and while in college he edited the academic section of Voices of Central Pennsylvania.
After college and a brief stint in marketing research, he worked as a reporter for The Ridgway Record, The Kane Republican and the St. Marys Daily Press before being appointed editor of the Ridgway Record. In 2006, he joined the Sun-Gazette team as deputy editor. He was appointed editor-in-chief of the city and region in 2018.
He lives with his family – his wife, Alyssa, and 4 year old son, Stevie – near Brandon Park. He also sits on the board of New Covenant United Church of Christ. He is the son of Mickey and Lois Maneval, who live near Picture Rocks.
“I am delighted to work with this group”, said Maneval. “They, along with our design editor, Tim Wertz, are working hard and dedicated to the role of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette in our communities, and our communities are fortunate to see them take on these new roles. “
News, Selected Homework Editors
Vibert-Kennedy, originally from Clarkstown, has been a reporter and photojournalist for the Sun-Gazette since 2013, writing news and reporting, developing video for the web, and becoming an FAA-certified drone pilot in 2017.
Last year, she took on the major role of managing the various digital platforms of the community newspaper.
Along with www.sungazette.com, these include Facebook and Instagram, the latest email news and more.
She has also edited two books for the Sun-Gazette and won numerous awards, including a first-place Keystone Award in the Photo Story / Essay category for her photographs of former President Donald Trump’s visit to Montoursville. His newspaper career spanned 26 years and included positions with Press Enterprise, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, Journal News, San Francisco Examiner, and Associated Press.
She is a graduate of Muncy High School, Pennsylvania College of Technology, and Bloomsburg University. Daughter of Claire and Edward Vibert of Clarkstown, she and her husband, Dave, have 16-year-old son Tyler.
“My career as a journalist has taken me coast to coast, from New York to San Francisco and back home to Lycoming County,” said Vibert-Kennedy. “I love to share the stories of our friends and neighbors. I am delighted to continue to expand our audience on Sun-Gazette’s print and digital platforms.
After stumbling upon a love of sharing other people’s stories in her high school journal, Hibbard graduated from Lock Haven University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in communication, focusing on print journalism and writing for the newspaper. The Express community. She began her journey with the Sun-Gazette part-time in the sports department as she was finishing her last semester at university. She joined the full-time press team in December 2015, first as a general assignment reporter, then as a county reporter.
She was the senior editor covering former President Donald Trump’s visit to Williamsport Regional Airport shortly before becoming Associate Editor, handling the daily news pages as well as the weekly religion sections. and health and, for a short time, The Taste.
Born and raised in Montrose, Susquehanna County, her father and stepmother are Chris and Jen Hibbard, and her mother is Sarah Hibbard, all from the Montrose area.
She lives in Williamsport with her six-year-old partner, Paul Dennis, and their three cats, Roxas, Nami and Gracie.
New Associate Editors Appointed
Daughter of Denise Young of Jersey Shore, Mallorie McIlwain is from Jersey Shore.
She has worked for the Williamsport Sun-Gazette since June 2019. She is responsible for the weekly sections The Taste and Education, as well as the historical and weekly newspaper Muncy Luminary, a sister publication.
A 2019 graduate from Cedar Crest College in Allentown, McIlwain earned a bachelor’s degree in media studies and a minor in dance. In her spare time, she has created two dance shorts and designs informational graphics for social media.
Weaver, originally from Williamsport, graduated from Indiana University in Pennsylvania, where they worked as a writer and editor for IUP student newspaper The Penn. They wrote nearly 30 articles for the newspaper before doing an internship at the Sun-Gazette.
At IUP, Weaver earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations.
“My time at The Penn taught me to work both in a newsroom and remotely. I love nothing more than to sit down with someone and learn what makes them tick ”, said the weaver.
“Being born and raised in Williamsport gives me a glimpse of the issues locals care about” they added. They spent time working as an intern at the Thomas T. Taber Museum, helping to archive letters and exhibits, and researching artifacts.
Meanwhile, copy editing, Weaver said, is their strong suit as they take on the task of editing and formatting for the Sun-Gazette.
A 2017 graduate from Williamsport Area High School, Weaver is the daughter of Gretchen and John Weaver of Williamsport.
The promotions were announced by Bob Rolley, publisher of Sun-Gazette.
“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to empower people, in this case a strong group of journalists who want to do their best to inform and improve their communities,” Rolley said.
“We have a wonderful family of dedicated employees here as we work together to provide readers with a daily information forum for public discussion and opinion, and to connect these readers with advertisers and community organizations.” Rolley said.
“We are honored and take seriously our role in the civic, cultural and economic life of the communities we serve. “