New Scripps executive will head newspaper division's interactive initiatives

Fri, July 25, 2008 by Tim King

CINCINNATI - Rusty Coats, who has led audience and revenue expansion efforts at several media companies, has been named vice president of interactive for the newspaper division of The E. W. Scripps Company.

Beginning Aug. 18, Coats, 42, will lead the newspaper division's Internet strategy, working closely with the division's publishers.

"Rusty brings to Scripps a unique blend of online development experience which has focused on research, journalism, sales and new product development," said Mark Contreras, senior vice president of newspapers for The E. W. Scripps Company.  

"Rusty began his career as a reporter, where he gained first-hand knowledge of what it takes to provide exceptional local news coverage. Through his online experience, Rusty has demonstrated that he can develop and drive profitable, cutting-edge multi-media interactive products and services that have resonated with users and advertisers.

"His past media experience and exceptional communication skills will immediately help us to transform our newspaper businesses into true multi-media news and information organizations everywhere we operate."

Coats most recently served as managing director of product and audience development for Media General, Inc., in Richmond, Va. Among his accomplishments, he negotiated and implemented Media General's involvement with the Yahoo! consortium, which is a partnership of more than 750 newspapers from 34 newspaper companies that provides news content to Yahoo!. Scripps is a founding partner in the consortium.

From 2005 to 2007, Coats served as vice president and general manager of TBO.com, the joint online business of Tampa Tribune and television station WFLA. He redesigned the Web site and laid the groundwork for the continuous online news desk, an effort that led to audience growth of 45 percent and revenue growth of 54 percent. He also assumed online and print responsibility for 22 community weekly newspapers.

Coats' first job after college was as a reporter, covering the police beat for the Evansville Courier, which is now the Scripps-owned Evansville Courier & Press. He eventually went to work for the McClatchy Company, where he worked as a reporter and columnist for The Modesto Bee in Modesto, Calif., from 1989 to 1996 before moving to online content management at The Sacramento Bee in Sacramento, Calif., and then at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis - St. Paul, Minn. Coats spent four years as director of new media for MORI Research in Minneapolis before starting at the Tampa Tribune.

After winning a journalism scholarship through the Louisville Courier Journal, the Indiana native earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and journalism from Indiana University in 1988.

Coats is married to Janet and is the father of Carly and Cassidy, and stepfather of Sam, Rachel and Luke. The Tampa, Fla. resident will relocate to Tennessee and work at the Scripps Knoxville office.

About Scripps

The E. W. Scripps Company (www.scripps.com) is a diverse, 130-year-old media enterprise with interests in broadcast television stations, newspaper publishing, and licensing and syndication. The company's portfolio of locally focused media properties includes: 10 broadcast TV stations, with six ABC-affiliated stations, three NBC affiliates and one independent; daily and community newspapers in 15 markets and the Washington, D.C.-based Scripps Media Center, home of the Scripps Howard News Service; and United Media, the licensor and syndicator of Peanuts, Dilbert and approximately 150 other features and comics.

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