Nancy Ancrum is a force in the Miami community. As the Miami Herald’s Editorial Page Editor for the past decade, she’s been a powerful, brave voice for Miami readers. Now, after 40 years at the Herald, Ancrum has decided to retire.
The native New Yorker began her career as an editor for the Baltimore Evening Sun and USA Today before moving to Miami to work for the Herald in her 20s, and was elevated to Editorial Page Editor in 2013. She leaves with the highest of journalistic accolades in hand, having led teams that won two Pulitzer Prizes.
Decades with the Herald
“This is the best job that I have ever had,” Ancrum said. “I have held the job for 10 years, and I’ve been at the newspaper for 40, and it was just time. I plan to stay in this community. I plan to continue to be a part of it — an engaged part of this community.”
Ancrum, 67, will work through December. Then she will take on a role as an engaged citizen with her beloved husband, George Fishman, a retired mosaic artist and arts writer.
Alex Mena, executive editor of the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald, called Ancrum “a Herald legend.”
“Nancy has been a guiding light for the community, a fierce voice of what’s right and fair,” Mena said. “Many community leaders have endured the sharpness — and wisdom — of her words. As a colleague, Nancy is beloved for her warmth, grace and style.”
In the community
Though much of Ancrum’s work as editorial editor was behind the scenes, she was not content to limit the Herald’s outreach to its printed and digital pages. She invited community representatives to join in the decision-making of the editorial board and was a frequent face and voice on local public affairs shows like WPLG-Local 10’s “This Week in South Florida.”
“Nancy has been a powerful voice for good, a powerful voice for government that really relates to people, and a voice for inclusion and social justice,” said former WPLG senior political reporter Michael Putney, the retired host of “This Week in South Florida.”
Ancrum was front and center on the Herald podcast “Woke Wars,” and on “Speaking of Miami,” a livestream interview initiative that gave voice to a broad range of community members, from elected officials to artists to victims of violence in our community.
“That’s one of the things I’ve been proud of — that you don’t have to have a title after your name to appear on our pages,” Ancrum said.
She has kept a watchful eye on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (some readers may have noticed the Editorial Board has had doubts about the governor) and also launched two opinion newsletters, Miami Debate and Right to the Point, the Herald’s newsletter of conservative viewpoints. And year after year, she embraced the rigorous process of vetting and endorsing local political candidates to help guide voters in our community.
“Her commitment to our community, as crazy as it can get sometimes, and the respect she has earned as a fearless voice for good government and for ensuring everyone is treated fairly, can’t be denied,” said Myriam Márquez, who held the job before Ancrum. “Nancy was always at the ready to investigate an issue facing our community, exposing all the ugly warts — without fear or favor — and finding solutions.”
Ancrum was also a gifted writer and editor, colleagues said.
“Nancy was an unfailingly gracious person first of all,” said former Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. “And a very good editor . . . even when she was verklempt — and sometimes she was verklempt with me — she never lost that grace.”
And then there are the Pulitzers.
Deputy Editorial Page Editor Amy Driscoll’s “Broken Promises,” a five-part series focusing on politicians and developers vowing, but failing, to build parks, revive historic neighborhoods and boost transportation, won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in May.
Ancrum was also at the helm in 2017 when Miami Herald cartoonist Jim Morin won the Pulitzer Prize for his editorial cartoons.
Moments after making her announcement public on Friday, Ancrum reflected on her work.
“I really took this job with a personal and professional mandate to engage an ever-increasing and ever more broad swath of our community of leaders,” she said. “And I think I was able to move that needle and also engage people who don’t read us, but who might listen to us. I’m very proud of meeting people where they are. It was fun. . . . We were informed and that allowed us to inform.”