Veteran reporter and editor Brent Israelsen has been appointed the new editor of The Tico Times.
Israelsen, 46, comes to San José from the U.S. daily The Salt Lake Tribune, in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he supervised the seven-person Justice Desk, which under his direction won numerous prestigious awards for their coverage of Hurricane Katrina, the
massacre and lost Boy Scouts.
Before becoming an editor, Israelsen covered the environment and Utah’s Bosnian community. An award-winning reporter, Israelsen traveled on assignment to Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait and The Hague. He also has visited many parts of Latin America.
Israelsen’s wife, Rebecca Walsh, who is also a journalist, and their son, Jack, plan to join him in Costa Rica shortly.
Israelsen replaces Auriana Koutnik, who served as Tico Times editor from 2003 to 2007. Koutnik resigned to spend more time with her young son, Kaleo, and husband, Esteban. She will continue to contribute to the newspaper.
This week, Israelsen shared his first impressions with us.
TT: It seems like you had a successful career going at The SaltLake Tribune. What went wrong?
BI: (Laughs) I couldn’t bear another Utah winter. Seriously, I needed a new challenge and I love Costa Rica. It’s on my short list of places to spend the rest of my days. Not that those days are coming soon or anything.
After two weeks in Costa Rica, what do you have to say for the country?
It’s a beautiful place filled with lovely people and opportunities for outdoor adventure, which I love. But it is also a country in serious transition, with unfathomable growing pains. Not since the Central American conflicts in the 1980s has there been such a need for good journalism here.
What is your vision for The Tico Times?
To continue its 50-year tradition of serving the community. I hope to help take it to new places and new readers. I will emphasize solid reporting, concise and interesting prose, catchy headlines, good photography and useful graphics. I want it to be a product that people can’t wait for and can’t do without.
What do you enjoy most about being editor so far?
The staff. I enjoy working with talented, energetic people who love what they do and care about the subjects they cover.
I hear your Italian is better than your Spanish.
Yes, but I plan to lobby the Legislative Assembly to make Italian the official language of Costa Rica.