New Management at Papers Involved in Knight Ridder, Gannett Deal

By: Joe Strupp

The shake-up at the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News, which includes ownership changes at four other papers in three states, also means a slew of management appointments among all of those involved.

Editor Paul Anger of the Des Moines Register will become the new editor at the Free Press, replacing Carole Leigh Hutton, who held the title of editor and publisher.

David J. Butler, editor of the Los Angeles Daily News, will become editor of the Detroit News.

Hutton, Free Press Managing Editor Thom Fladung and Vice President/Business Manager Jerry Teagan will remain with Knight Ridder, but in undisclosed roles.

Mark Silverman, who had been editor and publisher of the Detroit News, will take a new role within Gannett.

The Los Angeles and Des Moines papers have yet to name new editors.

Gannett, which gave up the News to MediaNews Group and takes over the Free Press from Knight Ridder, named David Hunke, president and publisher of the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle, as president and publisher of the Free Press. Gannett Newspaper Division Senior Vice President/Operations Mark S. Mikolajczyk was named president and CEO of the Detroit Newspaper Agency, which oversees the joint operating agreement between the two papers.

As part of the deal, Knight Ridder also will receive The (Boise) Idaho Statesman, and two papers in the state of Washington, The (Olympia) Olympian, and The Bellingham Herald, from Gannett, according to a Knight Ridder statement. In return, Gannett will receive the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat and an undisclosed cash consideration from Knight Ridder.

Changes related to those transactions include:

* The Boise newspaper reporting to Senior Vice President Hilary Schneider. The two Washington state newspapers will report to Paula Ellis, vice president/operations. At the same time, Knight Ridder announced these executive changes at the papers.

* Mike Petrak, Knight Ridder vice president/marketing, will become president and publisher in Boise. John Winn Miller, senior vice president/marketing in Tallahassee, will become president and publisher in Olympia. And Glen Nardi, senior vice president/operations at the San Jose Mercury News, will become president and publisher in Bellingham.

* Tallahassee Democrat President and Publisher Mike Pate will remain with Knight Ridder in a consulting role through the end of the year, when he plans to retire. Vice President/Editor Mizell Stewart will remain with Knight Ridder in a role yet to be determined.

“We are extremely fortunate to have experienced executives ready to assume leadership of these new Knight Ridder newspapers,” Knight Rider CEO Tony Ridder said in a statement. “Each of them has been involved in companywide initiatives that have broadened their expertise. Those experiences will benefit the new papers.”

Gannett, meanwhile, announced these executive changes: In Tallahassee, Patrick Dorsey, director/finance and group controller for Florida Today, was named president and publisher of the Tallahassee Democrat; Leslie Hurst, president and publisher of The Idaho Statesman, was named president and publisher of The Lansing (Mich.) State Journal; and Michael G. Kane, president and publisher in Lansing, was named president and publisher of the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle.

Christine Chin, president and publisher of The Bellingham Herald, will join the staff of The (Phoenix) Arizona Republic. Bob Ritter, president and publisher of The Olympian, will remain with Gannett in a position to be announced later, the company said.

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