Readers and community members will notice some changes coming to the Daily Independent starting Monday, May 7 as a change in editorial leadership occurs.

DI Sports Editor Christopher Livingston takes over as the new managing editor on Monday, after nearly three years covering athletics in the Indian Wells and Searles valleys.

Livingston, 27, said that he is thrilled to be given the opportunity to lead the newsroom and is ready to provide a fresh look and feel to the paper.

"In times where there are different media to tell stories, I'm looking forward to helping us continue to embrace our legacy while also offering our audience new ways to get its news," he said. "This is an exciting time for our paper and our community."

In promoting Livingston to managing editor Daily Independent Publisher John Watkins said it is "an editorial slot well deserved. I expect big things of Christopher and am sure the DI and community will not be disappointed."

During the transition, Livingston will continue to oversee the paper's sports coverage until a new sports editor is hired.

The current managing Jack Barnwell will be stepping into the role left open by departing community editor Michael Smit.

Smit leaves the DI for a job in Shanghai, China after 17 months of exemplary work covering education, community and water issues in Ridgecrest and the Indian Wells Valley.

"No doubt the DI and community will miss the reporting of CNPA award-winning Michael Smit," publisher John Watkins noted. "However, with Jack's ability and local knowledge we won't skip a beat. His passion is news reporting and he excels at it."

Jessica Weston, another CNPA award winner, will maintain her city editor duties.

"Day in and day out, she gets the job done for the paper and our community," Watkins said.