‘Like coming home.’ The Kansas City Star hires Yvette Walker as its next opinion editor

The Kansas City Star has hired Yvette Walker, a veteran newspaper and academic leader, to lead its opinion journalism.

Walker comes to The Star from the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she most recently worked as assistant dean for student affairs. Before working in academia, she worked for decades at newspapers in Oklahoma, Michigan, Texas and Missouri. That included a stint at The Star from 1996 to 2006, when Walker worked in a variety of roles, including news editor and deputy features editor.

“It really just feels like coming home,” she said.

Walker begins as The Star’s vice president and editorial page editor on June 12. She’ll be based in The Star’s Crown Center newsroom and succeeds Michael Lindenberger, who died in December after a brief illness.

She said she hopes to help Kansas Citians make sense of their daily lives through opinion coverage.

“People live in Kansas City for a reason. It’s a great city, but things are happening all around them and I think it’s up to us to help them understand and ask questions,” she said.

Walker said she was drawn to the opinion team because of its unique ability to connect with the community.

“People like to hear what we’re thinking,” she said. “And we as gatekeepers are helping people make decisions about their daily lives through the information that we’re imparting online and in the paper. Opinion does that, too, but in a way that the audience can really understand what we’re thinking and how we’re thinking about it. So that’s a little different, but really so enticing to me.”

In her previous roles at The Star, Walker supervised the copy and design desk and was responsible for content on the front page. She was also the newspaper’s Readers’ Representative and regularly responded to reader concerns through a column.

“I’ve long admired Yvette’s passion for The Star and its mission of connecting with our readers and ensuring we fully reflect this great city,” said Greg Farmer, executive editor of The Star. “She brings with her not just a love of Kansas City, but an understanding and appreciation for what we should aspire to be. I can’t wait to have her join our team.”

A native of Chicago’s Southside, Walker studied journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She later earned a master’s degree in journalism and media management from the University of Missouri.

She previously worked as the night news director at The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City, as the entertainment editor at the Austin American Statesman and as the assistant features editor at The Detroit News.

“Yvette is eager to lend her voice to local conversations that inspire change,” said Peter St. Onge, opinion editor for McClatchy, The Star’s parent company. “I’m thrilled and excited about her plans to explore new ways to connect with our communities from Opinion.”