The staff of The Altus Times is welcoming a new managing editor, Eric Steinkopff, to their office on Commerce Street in Altus.
But he’s not new to Civitas Media, nor writing and publishing.
Steinkopff is a retired Marine Corps intelligence specialist and Russian linguist who served his country honorably for 23 years writing reports to keep commanders informed of potential threats to their units.
In 2000, he entered the civilian workforce, beginning his second career as newspaper journalist and photographer covering the military beat in a decidedly military town of Jacksonville, North Carolina.
Steinkopff has earned press association awards for general news reporting in North Carolina and for spot news photography in Kentucky.
He has also worked in Pennsylvania, writing about local companies and corporations in the eastern area of the state, north of Philadelphia, for a business journal.
His experience has broadened to include five years’ experience on the military beat of a daily newspaper in a military town; four years as copy editor and page designer with daily newspapers; two years covering police, fire, rescue, military and criminal courts for a triweekly community newspaper; one year with a daily newspaper covering all aspects of a rapidly growing area; one year as managing editor of a weekly community newspaper and three years marketing and sales for an outdoor outfitter and dance studio.
Over the past 16 years, he has written and published stories about products and services, police, fire, rescue, hospitals, airports, city councils, county commissions, economic development, court systems, family issues, housing, child care, wastewater treatment, contaminated drinking water, electricity, sports, entertainment, the environment, wildlife management, business and ballroom dancing.
More than two years ago Civitas Media, The Altus Times parent corporation, welcomed him to their pagination hub in Lumberton, North Carolina, where he honed his page-building and copy-editing skills.
His recent move to Altus is a promotion and logical progression for a man who describes his passion for reporting as “having ink in his blood.”
But the best description might be service to others – whether it is the national security in his prior role for the military or keeping track of community issues around Altus at his current position.
He has well-rounded interests that might seem odd in combination, as a rough-and-tumble Marine who studied foreign languages and wrote classified reports; or as an accomplished ballroom dancer and part-time instructor who also enjoys hunting and fishing when time permits.
Steinkopff was a single parent and when his daughter went off to college, he kept busy with new interests – first practicing karate and shortly after that he turned to dancing.
“It didn’t take me long to figure out that it was more fun dancing with a beautiful lady than beating up on a sweaty guy,” Steinkopff jokes.
Now his daughter lives in Anchorage, Alaska with her husband Phil and Eric’s new twin grandsons born last October.
He has visited most of the states in the country and more than a dozen foreign countries, but has only visited Oklahoma in the past.
“I hope to learn more about the area and write stories to share with others what I have found,” he said. “I’ve never lived in Oklahoma before, but I got here as fast as I could.”
Reach Eric Steinkopff at 580-482-1221, ext. 2072.