“Good music.” “Weather that’s warm enough to drive with the windows down.” And “a cold drink.”
Introducing Joe LaRue.
The 23-year-old is The Times newspaper’s new managing editor.
And these are just a few of the things that make him smile.
Add the fact that he has “a job in news.”
And he’s taken a liking to some downtown Noblesville eateries.
“I could go on for a long time about what makes me smile,” said the curly, red-haired, bearded journalist who folks may have already seen strolling around the Courthouse Square taking in all that’s new.
What else makes him smile?
LaRue said, “Mostly, it’s the small things in life where I’m enjoying myself alone or in the company of friends, the kind of moments that made Andy Bernard from ‘The Office’ say, ‘I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you actually left them.’”
I asked The Times’ new employee to talk about himself. And I quickly found him not to be shy.
LaRue was born on the Kentucky side of Cincinnati but moved to Columbus, Ohio, when he was 2 years old and lived there until he graduated from Dublin Jerome High School in 2017, northwest of Columbus. He played lacrosse from the fourth grade all the way up until he graduated college. He also was a swimmer for 10 years, football for two years, wrestling for two years and hockey for a season, (“which is a 1,000-word story in and of itself, but that’s for another time,” he said.)
He has two siblings, an older brother, Zach, in Columbus, Ohio, and younger sister, Katie, a high school junior. His parents, both born and raised in Indiana and attended college here, still live where their son grew up.
From there, he attended Wabash College (in Crawfordsville), where he was secretary for Phi Delta Theta fraternity and was in the student senate and graduated in 2021.
While he wasn’t a journalism major, he was a double major in English and Rhetoric. So that means he probably has better grammar than most of us.
After graduating, he took up waiting tables to make some money.
“I had a lot of odd jobs while I was in school, from working in kitchens to being a college newspaper delivery boy to being a summer camp counselor in northeastern Pennsylvania,” he said.
“But the one job I loved was working for one of the local papers in Crawfordsville in the summer of 2019,” LaRue said. That was The Paper of Montgomery County, owned by Sagamore News Media, parent company of The Times.
“That’s how I met Tim Timmons, our publisher, and also a big part of how I likely got this job,” he said.
“News has always been my No. 1 interest,” LaRue said. “I love being able to speak knowledgeably and at length about current events, so I’ve been a newshound since I was in high school (writing for his school magazine) and that’s always dominated my time and attention.”
So what’s his job duties at The Times?
“I’m the managing editor here, which generally means my job is to get The Times assembled and published each day, but my and Tim’s goals are to actually diversify a lot of our content and grow The Times’ presence in Hamilton County,” he said.
“Stay tuned for stuff coming soon,” he said.
LaRue loves writing news. “Working in news is all I’ve ever wanted to do,” he said. But being that he’s assembling the newspaper each day, he said, “I haven’t gotten to write much. I only started about a month and a half ago, but my main goal is to write stories that keep people informed about their community, about what’s going on around them that affects their lives, and about things that are interesting to Hamilton County residents.”
Why does he like journalism so much? “It’s actually quite straightforward. The three things I’ve always done best are writing, telling stories and minding other people’s business.” (So true. Journalists are always interested in other people’s lives, and they have the license, and courage, to ask just about any question.)
“I think that trifecta of skills makes me uniquely suited to work in news,” he said.
“I’ve got a couple of favorite stories, but one that takes the prize for me is when I wrote about a farmer in Montgomery County who was one of the first farmers in Indiana to get licensed to grow hemp. It was 2019, a brutally hot summer, and crops all around Indiana were struggling, and this farmer had gotten this license because Indiana was uniquely suited environmentally to grow hemp. He hoped to help farmers around the state diversify their crop and keep their farms, so it was really cool to be able to bear witness to the genesis of his efforts and share them with other people.”
Has he met or interviewed any celebrities?
“As for famous people, I can’t say I’ve interviewed too many, mostly mayors and council members,” LaRue said. “I did once get to meet and speak to (British-American novelist) Salman Rushdie and ask him some questions, but that was for school. Still, pretty insane to stand there next to him.”
LaRue is already a “huge fan” of Noblesville and Hamilton County, which he said the county has similarities to back home.
“I don’t know the city very well yet, except that, like the rest of Indiana, there is construction absolutely everywhere, but I am trying my hardest to frequent local businesses … so that I can really appreciate and understand this place. I love it so far, though. Everyone has been so polite and welcoming.”
What does he like to do outside of work? “You can find me playing video games, writing fiction stories, skateboarding or playing pool and running my mouth at Average Joe’s,” he said.
But so far, he said, “The only activity I’ve really managed to do is work, although I imagine as it warms up, I’ll be spending evenings wandering the Square and Federal Hill Commons, finding ways to entertain myself and meet locals.”
His favorite spot in town, so far, is Rosie’s Place, not only because he likes the food but because he thinks the orange juice has just the right amount of pulp and The Times office is about 15 feet from the eatery’s front door. He thanks Noblesville Schools spokesperson Marnie Cooke for showing him there.
LaRue said, “If you see me walking around the Square in Noblesville … or anywhere, come up and introduce yourself. I’ve only met good and decent people since moving here, and I’d love to continue to meet more.”
He said, “My red hair, my beard and my purple coat are pretty much impossible to miss, although I suspect the coat is going into the closet soon … All that being said, I’m just excited to be a part of the community and to have a role in making it a better, or at least better informed, place. Cheers!”
“Cheers” to you Joe LaRue and welcome!