‘A’ Leading Masthead in Sterling, Ill.

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

Trevis Mayfield is publisher not only of the Daily Gazette in Sterling, Ill., but also of its Shaw Newspapers sibling The Telegraph in nearby Dixon. But on the Gazette’s masthead, Mayfield is a low man on the totem pole.

In an unusually egalitarian arrangement, Gazette managers are listed in alphabetical order in the masthead. So Production Coordinator Ernest Appleyard gets top billing, and the subsequent positions read like a drunk reel through the newspaper offices. The HR head pushes in front of the GM, the press foreman takes precedence over the advertising director ? and publisher Mayfield is listed third from the bottom.

No one around the Gazette can remember when or why the 152-year-old, 11,490-circulation evening daily adopted the unique masthead listing. The only thing Mayfield can figure, he says with a laugh, is that some long-ago publisher wanted to put someone else at the top of the listing so he could avoid phone complaints. Mayfield, who has been publisher for two years, sees no reason to change the practice now.

“We try to be a very employee-friendly company,” he says, “but, really, I think the way you treat people, and the culture of the company, means a lot more” than something like a masthead listing.

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