Enterprise promotes from within for new editor – Beaumont Enterprise

Kaitlin Bain has been named the new managing editor leading the newsroom at the Beaumont Enterprise.

Effective Monday, Bain moved into the position as she starts her fourth year at the paper and after several months serving as the top editor in an interim role.

“I am very pleased that Kaitlin has accepted the position to lead the Beaumont newsroom as Managing Editor. During her tenure she has shown a strong commitment to local journalism, the community and growing the skill set of the staff in digital first reporting. These skills will serve her well as we continue to expand and deepen our local reporting staff,” said Jeff Bergin, President of Hearst Community Newspapers.

Before taking on a digital development position with Hearst’s Community Newspapers division earlier in the year, Bain was the Enterprise’s government reporter.

Bain is taking the position during a time of transformation for the paper, as she and other staff members worked to reorganize and rebuild the newsroom after a series of retirements and internal promotions, but she said that period of change helped her realize the potential that could come from taking the helm.

“I ended up in the position in an acting role as we rebuilt the team, but I enjoyed working with reporters on a daily basis and tackling the issues of helping them represent the whole community in their reporting,” Bain said.

She is a graduate of Texas Tech University with Bachelor’s Degrees in journalism and political science and is an alum of the university’s student newspaper, The Daily Toreador.

Bain is a native Texan and grew up in southeast Houston. She was working in Central Washington and looking for a path to return closer to home when the Enterprise’s editor in 2018, Ronnie Crocker, offered her a job.

Building on her experience as a government reporter at the Yakima Herald-Republic, she built a reporting beat that focused not just on local governments or elected officials but also the people impacted by their decisions.

Her series of investigations into subjects like the Oxbow Calcining plant’s legal troubles in Port Arthur and Jefferson County’s Drainage District 6 earned her the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors honor for Star Report of the Year in 2019, and contributed to the Enterprise’s dual prize of Newspaper of the Year and Newsroom of the Year.

Through those stories and others, she soon found herself enamored by the community.

“I remember after I had been here six months, when people would ask me how I liked it here, I would actually tell them I was embarrassed at how much I liked it here,” she said, adding the embarrassment was the result of the eye-rolls she received when she expressed her excitement.

She said she found the communities she visited warm and incredibly interesting, despite the misconceptions the rest of Texas seemed to have of the area, but the source of her fondness with her new home became more clear after Tropical Depression Imelda hit the area in September of 2019.

Walking through flooded neighborhoods in Vidor, she recalls strangers stopping her in the street to ask her if she was okay and if she needed help cleaning out her house, never assuming she didn’t belong.

When she interviewed people that had just suffered immense devastation hours before and were still coming to terms with it, she was struck with their ability to still trust her with their story and the responsibility the Enterprise had to tell it.

Bain said that experience and the hundreds of others she’s had in Southeast Texas will inform the kind of paper she will help lead.

“We want to do justice in the reporting we do every day,” Bain said. “We understand we have to cover trials, crime and everything else that happens, but this area so often gets overlooked by misconceptions. It’s a vibrant community that deserves more than that, and people trusting us has helped us tell that story.”

All of the Enterprise’s reporters and most of its staff live in Southeast Texas and work in its downtown Beaumont office – living as a part of the community they serve.

Although the historic building is currently for sale, Bain said readers can still expect their local paper to remain that way, as the company is not looking to move outside Beaumont.

Readers can also expect an open and responsive staff that are eager to hear comments and suggestions.

A public forum and a reader’s committee have been in development to give readers a chance to meet the Enterprise staff and have their voices heard to make sure their paper is covering the entire community. A plan to eventually open the office’s front lobby is still in the works, but Bain said she and reporters will always make time to answer an email, comment or voicemail from their neighbors in Southeast Texas.

“As someone that was very recently a reporter, I want to stress we aren’t faceless machines,” she said. “If you have a question or a correction, you don’t have to keep it to yourself. We want to talk to you.”




Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.