By: Dorothy Giobbe
Dun & Bradstreet executive replaces G. Kingsley Anthony, who left in June after a long affiliation with the organization sp.
THE NEWSPAPERS FIRST board has named Jay Zitz president and chief executive officer, effective Sept. 6.
Zitz replaces G. Kingsley Anthony, who left in June after a long affiliation with the member-owned newspaper rep firm.
In a statement, John Williams, executive vice president of the Seattle Times and a member of the Newspapers First board and executive committee, said Zitz “”brings a unique blend of sales and client experience that will allow him to lead Newspapers First forward into a new level of customer responsiveness and service on behalf of our member newspapers.””
Most recently Zitz was the executive vice president of marketing for North American information services for Dun & Bradstreet.
Previously he was the senior vice president for Gannett Outdoor, and he has also held marketing positions at Bristol-Myers, Heublein and Procter & Gamble Co.
In an interview Williams said that Zitz is a “”proven leader”” with “”extensive experience in developing packages for advertisers and packages that the membership will buy into.””
Industry executives said that Zitz takes over at a pivitol time for Newspapers First.
Soon after Anthony announced that he would step down, Times Mirror Co. said it would leave the organization, taking its eight newspapers which were said to account for approximately 20% of Newspapers First’s revenue.
Though they were said to be unrelated, the two events prompted a two-day July meeting of Newspapers First members to discuss the direction of the organization, according to Williams, who attended the meeting.
Representatives from many of the Knight-Ridder Inc. newspapers and all of the independent newspapers attended, he said.
“”It was an attempt to make sure the organization’s direction is well-defined,”” Williams said.
At the meeting, members agreed that Newspapers First is still a viable idea and that “”everyone would stay with the program,”” he said.
Williams added that Newspapers First will continue to promote its Big & Easy network, which recently ran its its first flight of advertisements for three drug and remedy products (E&P, Aug. 6, p. 24).
At the time of the Times Mirror announcement, many in the industry speculated that remaining members would be forced to contribute higher fees to compensate. Williams said that the dues structure is “”still being worked on.””
Medium and smaller-circulation Knight-Ridder newspapers will watch developments carefully.
While most are content with Newspapers First, some are exploring other options.
Representatives of the State, a 134, 288-circulation newspaper in Columbia, S.C., recently met with rep firm Sawyer Ferguson Walker in an effort to “”find out what would be the best option for us if we were tos weitch,”” said MOrt Goldstrom, display manager.
“We have kept our options open,”” Goldstrom said.
“We, like everyone else, are waiting to see what a new CEO means for Newspaper First.””
Goldstrom said, “”I happen to think Newspapers First is a pretty good firm, but if they turn around and say they’re not going to do small papers anymore, we’re going to have to decide the best thing for our newspaper.””