Puckett to retire from Abilene Reporter-News; Mercier promoted to president and publisher

Fri, July 14, 2000 by Tim Stautberg

For immediate releaseJuly 14, 2000 (NYSE: SSP)CINCINNATI – Frank Puckett, president and publisher of the Abilene Reporter-News since 1981, will retire from the newspaper effective Aug. 1.David Mercier, vice president of sales and marketing at the Reporter-News, will immediately succeed Puckett as president and publisher.The Reporter-News is owned and operated by The E.W. Scripps Company.Puckett, 53, said he is retiring, in part, because of health issues related to a serious back injury he suffered about five years ago. He also plans to devote more time to civic projects in which he has long been involved. “I’ve been forced to deal with some health issues that would not normally concern someone my age,” said Puckett. “Given these health issues, I want to do a number of things now while I’m young enough to enjoy them.”Puckett plans to remain active in Abilene civic affairs, including continuing his role as chairman of the Military Affairs Committee of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce. Puckett, who has been chairman of the committee for 10 years, has played a key role in the community’s effort to attract the military’s proposed Air Borne Laser system to nearby Dyess Air Force Base. Steve Sullivan, vice president of newspapers for Scripps, said, “Frank has been a superb publisher and involved community leader. We’re sorry to see him retire, but we’re confident that leadership of the Reporter-News will be in capable hands in the person of David Mercier.”“David has been a tremendous asset to the Reporter-News since he came to Abilene three years ago,” Sullivan said. “He’s a top-drawer newspaper manager who has proven over and over again that he knows how to get results.”Mercier, 41, joined the Reporter-News in 1998 as advertising director. He was promoted to vice president of sales and marketing in August 1999. Before joining the Reporter-News he held management positions in newspapers in Palm Springs, Calif., and Denver.“I look forward to building upon the strong tradition of excellence that characterizes the Reporter-News,” said Mercier. “Our team is committed to providing readers and advertisers with local content and service that consistently exceed their expectations.”Mercier is a graduate of Iowa State University, where he earned a degree in journalism and marketing. He has participated in industry leadership education programs, including the American Press Institute, and serves on the Newspaper Association of America’s Federation Selling and Readership task forces. He and his wife, Sondra, have a daughter.The E.W. Scripps Company is a diverse media concern with interests in newspaper publishing, broadcast television, cable television programming and interactive media. Scripps operates 20 daily newspapers, 10 broadcast TV stations and three cable television networks, with plans to launch a fourth.Scripps cable television network brands include Home & Garden Television, Food Network, Do It Yourself, and Fine Living, due to launch in the second half of 2001.The company also operates Scripps Howard News Service, United Media, the worldwide licensing and syndication home of PEANUTS and DILBERT, and 31 Web sites, including hgtv.com, foodtv.com, diynet.com and comics.com. ### Contact: Tim Stautberg, The E.W. Scripps Company, 513-977-3826 Email: stautberg@scripps.com