(AP) Alex Machaskee, who started his newspaper career as a sports and general assignment reporter, announced Sunday he is retiring as president, publisher and chief executive of The Plain Dealer, Ohio’s largest newspaper.
Machaskee, 68, said he would keep working until a successor is named. He joined the newspaper 46 years ago in the promotions department and rose to publisher in 1990.
“I am eager to have more time to spend with my family, travel and play music; all things that I love and cannot find enough time to work into a hectic schedule,” he said in a written statement.
Colleagues praised him for his civic leadership and improvements he brought to The Plain Dealer in a tough time for the industry, with competition from 24-cable news, the Internet, and even cell phones.
As publisher, Machaskee increased the news staff in the early 1990s and supervised the development of a $38 million downtown headquarters and $200 million production and distribution center in suburban Brooklyn.
“I’ve worked for him just under seven years,” Editor Doug Clifton said. “My only regret is that it wasn’t 20.”
Donald E. Newhouse, president of the newspaper’s owner, New York-based Advance Publications Inc., said Machaskee excelled at all posts he held, which included labor relations director, vice president, and general manager.
“And his concern for each individual at The Plain Dealer has been the hallmark of that success,” he said. “Just as important, Alex has been a driving force for positive progress in northeast Ohio. He has worked tirelessly for his community in all ways big and small.”
The Plain Dealer has a circulation of about 370,000 weekdays and 480,000 on Sunday. No timetable was given for when Machaskee?s successor would be named.
Machaskee began his career as a reporter for his hometown newspaper, the Warren Tribune Chronicle, before coming to The Plain Dealer in 1960.
His civic involvement included the United Way, International Children’s Games and Severance Hall, the home of the Cleveland Orchestra, which was renovated while he was chairman of the board of trustees.