The World-Herald is announcing a new lineup of metro columnists.
Erin Grace and Matthew Hansen, current members of the news reporting staff, will join Mike Kelly in January as columnists writing about our community, especially its people. In addition to writing columns for the paper, each will contribute to a daily blog on Omaha.com.
Erin Grace, 39, has covered City Hall and social services, among other topics, in her 14 years at the paper and contributes to the paper's Momaha.com website.
Grace grew up in Omaha and graduated from Marian High and Marquette University. She and husband Morgan Helton, a teacher at Creighton Prep, have three young children.
Matthew Hansen has covered the military and higher education. Hansen, 32, came to The World-Herald in 2006 from the Lincoln Journal-Star.
The Red Cloud, Neb., native is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is married to World-Herald food writer Sarah Baker Hansen.
Michael Kelly began his career at The World-Herald after graduating from the University of Cincinnati in 1970. He covered police and then the courthouse and City Hall. In 1981 he became sports editor and sports columnist. Ten years after that, he became a metro columnist.
Kelly, 64, grew up in Cincinnati. He and his wife, Barb, have four grown children and eight grandchildren.
In The World-Herald's print edition, the columnists' work won't appear solely on the Midlands news cover. Instead, the columns might be found throughout the paper — on the front page, the cover of the Living section or on the Midlands cover.
“We are moving in this direction to increase the visibility of three of our very best storytellers. We don't want their voices limited to certain days of the week or only to the Midlands cover,” said Executive Editor Mike Reilly.
“We know that reader interest is high, both in print and online, in stories about interesting people,” Reilly said. “This format also allows us to use photos with columns more frequently and more prominently.”