- Associated Press - Thursday, May 5, 2016

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - David Erdman, a journalist who over a 35-year career at The Morning Call rose through the ranks of the newspaper to become its top editor and publisher, announced Thursday he is retiring.

Erdman, 56, who was given the added title of publisher two months ago in a reorganization by Tribune Publishing, said his decision to step down was a difficult one, mainly driven by the need to deal with a recently diagnosed esophageal condition.

“It has been a great privilege to have worked for the past 35 years in what I have viewed more like a vocation than a job,” The Call’s editor-in-chief said in a story (http://bit.ly/1T3Cq3G ) on the newspaper’s website. “Not many are so lucky to be able to say that.”

Tim Ryan, Tribune’s president of publishing and a former Morning Call publisher, said he’s disappointed Erdman is retiring but understands the decision. He said he has always been impressed with Erdman’s “talent, passion and unwavering commitment to exceptional journalism.”

Erdman has been a champion of the right of Pennsylvanians to have access to government records that state law says should be public.

He started at the newspaper as a reporter in 1981 and moved up the ranks to become managing editor in 2000. In 2009 he was named vice president and editor.

Terry Rang, associate editor, will serve as interim publisher and editor-in-chief, while a national search is underway for a replacement, Tribune Publishing said.

Erdman will assist with the transition over the next few weeks. His retirement takes effect May 20.

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