Southern Spirit salutes editorial coordinator David Ibata

The Southern Spirit editorial staff mourns the loss of David Ibata, who passed away January 26. David, who had served as editorial coordinator for the Southern Spirit since October 2016, was 66.

David was the epitome of the relentless reporter with an unfailing nose for news. During his four-plus years with the Southern Spirit, he coordinated the production of the centerspread special features and served as the lead reporter for the publication, reaching into all corners of the USA South to gather stories and share them with readers of the Southern Spirit and Southern Spirit Online. A native of Chicago, he was a third-generation Japanese-American and was a founding member of the Asian American Journalists Association.

He attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, graduating with a degree in journalism. He also attended the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. David began his career at the Chicago Tribune in 1981, serving as a writer on the business and metro desks. He also served as deputy suburban bureau chief and metro source editor. He later worked as rewrite editor and breaking news producer for

In 2007, David joined the staff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. There he served as assistant editorial editor with responsibility for digital and print presentation of the Journal-Constitution’s Opinion page. He also worked as Business section coordinator, dispatch editor, wire editor and copy editor. He has continued for the past four years as a freelance editor and writer for the Journal-Constitution.

David collaborated with fellow Asian-American journalist Linda Yu in 1989 to form the Asian-American Journalists Association. The Chicago chapter of the AAJA later honored David and Linda by establishing two college internships in their names, helping create career opportunities for AAJA students and recent grads at news outlets in the Chicago area.

“David was polite and gracious, the consummate professional,” said Dan Childs, editor of the Southern Spirit. “In my 40 years in journalism, I have not encountered his equal in terms of industriousness and resourcefulness in gathering news and presenting it in an effective and engaging way. He was a pro’s pro. He will be missed.”

David was an avid amateur historian of railroads and served as the editor of the newsletter produced by the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railroad Preservation Society.

He is survived by wife Patricia, son Andrew, daughters Elizabeth and Karen (Josiah) Larson and two grandchildren.