Fernandina Observer announces new leadership

Mike Phillips to lead Fernandina Observer.

By Susan Hardee Steger
April 13, 2022



On May 12, after ten years of service, Suanne Thamm, reporter-news analyst, and Susan Hardee Steger, editor will step down from their positions at the Fernandina Observer.

We are pleased to announce that Mike Phillips, a newcomer to our community, will assume the editor’s responsibilities. Mike comes to Fernandina Beach from Cincinnati OH, where he retired as an E.W. Scripps executive overseeing 19 of the company’s newsrooms from Florida to Puget Sound. He began his newspaper career as a reporter and copy editor, continued as a senior editor, then ultimately corporate executive. He was a digital news pioneer and specialized in community news.

Join us in welcoming Mike Phillips to our community. His wide-ranging skills and wealth of experience will leave the Fernandina Observer in good hands. We ask for your support while Mike organizes his team to deliver news and information “For and About the People of Nassau County.”

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DAVID LOTT(@dave-l)
2 years ago

Susan & Suanne,
Sorry to see this change but it is most understandable after 10 years of hard work. Best wishes to the FO for the future.

Dickie Anderson
Dickie Anderson(@dickie-andersongmail-com)
2 years ago

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Where did ten years go?
Welcome Mike.

Gerry Clare
Gerry Clare(@gerrycclaregmail-com)
2 years ago

Congrats S & S. Fabulous job y’all. Enjoy retirement. It can be fun too and thanks for the ride.

Bill Birdsong
Bill Birdsong(@wmbirdsongyahoo-com)
2 years ago

Wow, ten years of service, the first thing we read each morning at breakfast! Thanks to both Suanne and Susan for all their contributions to the community over the years. Their analysis of the news of our island will be greatly missed. Welcome to Mr Phillips.

Robert Warner
Robert Warner (@guest_64565)
2 years ago

I sincerely thank you both. You have made a real difference in our community. A very real difference. Fair winds and following seas.

Drew Skonberg
Drew Skonberg(@skonberg)
2 years ago

Perhaps we will see a more balanced reporting of news without the left agenda.

Robert S. Warner, Jr.
Robert S. Warner, Jr. (@guest_64587)
2 years ago
Reply to  Drew Skonberg

You mean you want a steady diet of Fox media and Newsmax. Don’t think so.

Drew Skonberg
Drew Skonberg(@skonberg)
2 years ago

The lefty twist and spin. Actually looking for news, not propaganda from all of MSM. FYI, Still waiting on your math from your statement of a few dollars per Fl. household (ten million) adding to hundreds of billions solving the homeowners insurance issues.

Mark Tomes
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
2 years ago
Reply to  Drew Skonberg

Lol, I thought it was right-leaning!

Robert Weintraub
Robert Weintraub(@rukbat23gmail-com)
2 years ago

Good work Susan and Suanne. Enjoyed your reports. Glad to see a professional journalist is continuing the Observer.

Donna Paz Kaufman
Donna Paz Kaufman(@dpazpazbookbiz-com)
2 years ago

Many thanks, Susan and Suanne, for launching FO. You both have been gifts to our community. Free press and local news is important. Welcome, Mike! You bring a wealth of experience and we look forward to what you bring to our community!

Edward Mark Joseph Szynaka
Edward Mark Joseph Szynaka (@guest_64570)
2 years ago

I will miss Susanne and wish her all the best.

Jerie Lukefahr
Jerie Lukefahr (@guest_64571)
2 years ago

Thank you both for your bringing us this insightful resource. Enjoy retirement!

Doug Mowery
Doug Mowery(@douglasm)
2 years ago

You both have done a great job of keeping this particular idiot informed about our community…….you have set the bar high for Mike.

Best of luck to both of you.

Suzanne Batchelor
Suzanne Batchelor (@guest_64573)
2 years ago

Good job Susan and Suzanne! Our community has been more informed objectively because of your 10 years of hard work! Just the other day someone said, “hey, saw you in the FO”, and I was like- what? Then I realized you’ve become the well read source of news. Sorry to see you go but welcome Mike!

Anita Oliver
Anita Oliver (@guest_64577)
2 years ago

Both of you will be missed Now understand the end of April Fool post

Margaret Kirkland
Margaret Kirkland(@kirkland-mrk)
2 years ago

Thank you both for your substantial contributions to the quality of life on Amelia Island.

Phyllis E Davis
Phyllis E Davis(@phyllisameliamuseum-org)
2 years ago

Thank you so much for all you have done for the community and the Museum. Does that mean you are both ready to spend more time volunteering at the Museum? You know Thea can find a costume for you…;)

cornell rudov
cornell rudov (@guest_64581)
2 years ago

Thank you both for all that you have done. The F.O. is my first read every morning. Welcome Mr. Phillips. You have big shoes to fill.

PaulLore (@guest_64582)
2 years ago

I do wish Mike the best but I truly will miss you both…. Suanne I still owe a hug. I wish you both the best in your next journey…

Margo Story
Margo Story (@guest_64583)
2 years ago

Thank you ladies for the 10 yrs of news….welcome Mike Philips!!

Debra Branton
Debra Branton(@debrabrantongmail-com)
2 years ago

Thank-you to Susan and Suanne for establishing and nurturing such a wonderful and important community resource. It has been an invaluable community service and yours are well deserved retirements. Be well, see you around town. Looking forward to the continued success of the Fernandina Observer. Debra Branton

John Goshco
John Goshco (@guest_64585)
2 years ago

Ditto to all of the above positive comments.
Thanks for an informative 10 years.

Lynda Bell, Keep Nassau Beautiful
2 years ago

Susan and Suzanne – Thank you for supporting the community with your reporting and information sharing. Wishing you the very best!

Welcome Mike.

Susan Taylor
Susan Taylor(@sutayl)
2 years ago

Congratulations on a well-earned retirement. Thanks for passing the baton to a worthy recipient, and for all your hard work over the years, keeping us locals (and your neighbors) informed. Your fan, Susan T

Ray Mooney
Ray Mooney (@guest_64590)
2 years ago

Thank you both for your time and effort in keeping us informed. Will miss your reporting.

Jon - Ex-Pat Fernandinian
Jon - Ex-Pat Fernandinian(@jbelcherefn-org)
2 years ago

Susan & Suanne<

Thanks for all you have done to keep us informed and for keeping the Observer presses rolling after your tenure!

randy mcgee
randy mcgee (@guest_64593)
2 years ago

hopefully the incoming editor believes in
The Journalist’s Creed

  • I believe in the profession of journalism.
  • I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.
  • I believe that clear thinking and clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.
  • I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.
  • I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.
  • I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one’s own pocketbook is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.
  • I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that the supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.
  • I believe that the journalism which succeeds best — and best deserves success — fears God and honors Man; is stoutly independent, unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power, constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance and, as far as law and honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship; is a journalism of humanity, of and for today’s world.


Mrs. D. Hunter
Mrs. D. Hunter (@guest_64596)
2 years ago
Reply to  randy mcgee

I believe that you should read the header on this page: “Fernandina Observer, a Journal of News and Opinion.” OPINION. Moreover, go to the “About” section to see that this publication comes under the self-heading of “blog.” If you want the “Opinion” part to be eliminated from this blog, take that up directly with Mr. Phillips. As is, Susan and Suanne have delivered exactly what they set out to do, and what they said they’d do, way beyond expectation.

Mark Tomes
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
2 years ago
Reply to  randy mcgee

As Howard Zinn noted regarding historians, every journalist has a personal opinion, and that opinion (or viewpoint or worldview) will always inform what gets written and published and what does not. To declare otherwise is disingenuous.

Chuck Hall
Chuck Hall (@guest_64594)
2 years ago

Your work informed so many. Thanks for all you’ve done.
Enjoy your time.

Peggy Bulger
Peggy Bulger(@peggy-bulger1949gmail-com)
2 years ago

Suanne and Susan, you both are community treasures and you have given so much of your time and talent to all of us. What a legacy you and leaving!! Welcome to Mike and the team will no doubt continue to inform us daily of our local issues and provide us with a truth-based journalism!! Kudos!!