‘Detroit Free Press’ Publisher to Retire

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(AP) Heath J. Meriwether, who led the Detroit Free Press as it won two Pulitzer Prizes, said Thursday he will retire as publisher in December.

Meriwether, 59, joined the Free Press as executive editor in 1987 and became publisher on Jan. 1, 1996. He came to Detroit from The Miami Herald, where he spent 17 years in jobs from reporter to executive editor. The Herald won four Pulitzers under his leadership.

“I’ll miss, terribly, the people and the journalism of the Free Press. But I’ve always wanted to leave when I still had the energy and enthusiasm for the next adventures and when the leadership was in such good hands,” Meriwether said.

Meriwether said his long-term goal had been to try something different by the time he was 60. His 60th birthday is in January.

Tony Ridder, chairman and CEO of Knight Ridder, the parent company of the Free Press, praised Meriwether as a superb leader. “He has kept the newsroom focused on outstanding journalism that benefits the communities the Free Press serves.”

Knight Ridder did not immediately announce a new publisher.

The Free Press was founded in 1831. As of March 31, the paper had a weekday circulation of 360,100.

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