Scripps newspaper division begins reorganization

Tue, August 25, 2009 by Tim King

In a move designed to ensure that its 13 daily newspapers put increased emphasis on community-changing local content and peak-performing advertising sales, The E.W. Scripps Company today unveiled the first in a series of organizational changes that will enable faster sharing of best practices, standardization of business processes and more efficient utilization of resources.

In conference calls with investors earlier this year, the company has said it was considering structural changes that would simplify and standardize many business processes and enable the newspaper group to take advantage of its scale. The first step in that process is today's naming of national leaders to key functional roles, including newly created positions to invigorate the focus on content and sales.

"To meet the rapidly evolving needs of our customers, we're reorganizing our division to make sure all of our newspapers have a sharpened focus on delivering unrivaled local content across multiple platforms and developing the best sales organization in each of our markets," said Mark G. Contreras, the company's senior vice president of newspapers. "By making ourselves more valuable to our two most important constituencies - readers and advertisers - I believe we can continue our important public service mission while providing an economic benefit for our shareholders."

The changes announced today include the creation of an operating committee consisting of two new national positions with responsibility for sales and content, as well as four other positions with responsibility for operations, finance, information technology and human resources. The committee members include:

  • Bruce Hartmann, currently president and publisher of the News Sentinel in Knoxville, Tenn., will become vice president of sales (print and interactive) effective Sept. 1, 2009. Hartmann will have responsibility for all advertising and circulation revenue across the division, and all Scripps advertising and circulation sales directors will report to him.
  • Rusty Coats, currently vice president of interactive for the newspaper division, will assume responsibility for all content and marketing areas as well as interactive operations and strategic third-party relationships such as the company's relationship with Yahoo! and other national interactive brands. When he becomes vice president of content and marketing on Sept. 1, 2009, all Scripps editors, marketing leaders and interactive staff will report directly to Coats.
  • Frank Wolfe, currently director of operations, will become vice president of operations for the newspaper division and will have national responsibility for production and circulation operations. Each newspaper's production and circulation operations will report to Wolfe.
  • Robin Davis, the division's vice president of finance and administration, will continue in her role and will have all local and regional finance leaders report directly to her.
  • Jim York, director of information technology for the newspaper division, will become vice president of information technology and will be responsible for the standardization and rationalization of the IT function within the division. All local and regional newspaper IT leaders will report directly to him.
  • Mary Minser, the division's vice president of human resources, will continue in her role and will have all local human resources managers report directly to her.

Biographical information about the committee members can be found at the end of this release.

Also announced today was a change in the internal reporting structure of the company's daily newspapers, which now will be categorized in one of two tiers. Scripps newspapers in the division's six-largest markets - Memphis and Knoxville in Tennessee, Naples and Treasure Coast in Florida, Ventura, Calif., and Corpus Christi, Texas - will be considered "regional" media organizations. Starting Sept. 1, 2009, the publishers of the regional newspapers will serve on the operating committee and report directly to Contreras. The advertising and circulation sales directors will report to Hartmann.

The division's newspapers in the remaining markets - Evansville, Ind., Anderson, S.C., Redding, Calif., Bremerton, Wash., and the Texas communities of Abilene, Wichita Falls and San Angelo - will be called "mid-sized" media organizations. The publishers in the mid-sized markets will take on the added responsibilities of the sales function and report to Hartmann.

About Scripps

The E.W. Scripps Company is a diverse, 130-year-old media enterprise with interests in television stations, newspapers, local news and information Web sites, and licensing and syndication. For a full listing of Scripps media companies and their associated Web sites, visit http://www.scripps.com/.

Additional biographical information

Bruce Hartmann joined the Knoxville News Sentinel in 1990 as advertising director, a position he held until his promotion to general manager in September 1993.  In June 1998, he was named president and publisher of the News Sentinel. He is on the board of directors of several Knoxville organizations including the Friends of the Smokies, Bijou Theatre, and Variety.  Hartmann was the 2006 United Way campaign chair and a past president of both the Chamber Partnership and the Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation boards.

Rusty Coats has worked in interactive media for 15 years, first as a reporter covering technology, then leading Web sites for The McClatchy Company. The Newspaper Association of America named him Digital innovator of the Year in 2005, and he currently serves as co-chair of the Newspaper Consortium, which includes nearly 800 newspapers in partnership with Yahoo!

Frank Wolfe has been an operations employee with Scripps newspapers for nearly four decades. He started his career at the Knoxville News Sentinel, then was the director of operations at the Rocky Mountain news in Denver from 1996 to 2000. He has been the director of operations for the entire newspaper division for the past nine years.

Robin Davis joined Scripps in 2005 and has been in her current role as the newspaper division’s VP of finance and administration since 2006. Before joining Scripps, she was the vice president and CFO of Pulitzer Newspapers in St. Louis, where she was responsible for finance and HR, and oversaw the operation of two newspapers.

Jim York joined Scripps in 2008. Prior to that, York served as publisher of The Daily Journal, a Lee Enterprises, Inc. newspaper, in Park Hills, Mo., from 2003 to 2008. He previously served for five years as vice president of information technology for Pulitzer Newspapers, Inc., and had been a network manager for that company’s flagship, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He began his IT career while working as an environmental chemist for Quanterra, Inc.  

Mary Minser has led human resources initiatives for the Scripps newspaper and licensing/syndication divisions since 2006. For the previous 14 years she was the company's primary internal HR consultant in the areas of employment law, employee relations, policy development and company-wide management training. She joined Scripps in 1988 after serving four years in various HR positions with The Kroger Company.

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