Scripps Creates Two-Tier Structure for Dailies, Names Committee

By: Mark Fitzgerald E.W. Scripps became the latest newspaper chain to rearrange its corporate structure, announcing late Tuesday that it had created an operations committee that includes executives focusing on sales and contents, and dividing its 13 daily newspapers into two groups.

Scripps newspapers that serve its six largest markets -- Memphis and Knoxville in Tennessee, Naples and Treasure Coast in Florida, Ventura, Calif., and Corpus Christi, Texas -- will be considered "regional" media organizations, with the publishers serving on the new operating committee and reporting directly to Mark G. Contreras, Scripps's senior vice president of newspapers.

Advertising and circulations sales directors of regional dailies will report directly to Bruce Hartmann, the president and publisher of the News Sentinel in Knoxville, Tenn., who will become vice president of sales, including print and interactive, effective Sept. 1.

Newspapers serving the remaining markets will be known as "mid-sized" media organization. Their publisher will take on added responsibilities for sales, and report to Hartmann.

The mid-sized markets are Evansville, Ind., Anderson, S.C., Redding, Calif., Bremerton, Wash., and the Texas communities of Abilene, Wichita Falls and San Angelo.

Scripps Company said this was "the first in a series of organizational changes that will enable faster sharing of best practices, standardization of business processes and more efficient utilization of resources."

Scripps had said in conference calls with analysts earlier this year that it was looking at ways to standardize business process and take advantage of its scale.

"To meet the rapidly evolving needs of our customers, we're reorganizing our division to make sure all of our newspapers have a sharpened focus on delivering unrivaled local content across multiple platforms and developing the best sales organization in each of our markets," Contreras said in a statement. "By making ourselves more valuable to our two most important constituencies -- readers and advertisers -- I believe we can continue our important public service mission while providing an economic benefit for our shareholders."

The operating committee consists of two new national positions with responsibility for sales and content, as well as four other positions with responsibility for operations, finance, information technology and human resources.

In addition to Hartmann, who will have responsibility for all advertising and circulation revenue across the newspaper division are the following executives:

Rusty Coats, currently vice president of interactive for the newspaper division, becomes vice president of content and marketing, with responsibility for all content and marketing areas as well as interactive operations and strategic third-party relationships such as the company's relationship with Yahoo. All editors, marketing executives and interactive leaders will report to him.

Frank Wolfe, currently director of operations, will become vice president of operations for the newspaper division and will have national responsibility for production and circulation operations. All newspaper production and circulation operations will report to Wolfe.

Robin Davis, the division's vice president of finance and administration, will continue in her role and will have all local and regional finance leaders report directly to her.

Jim York, director of information technology for the newspaper division, will become vice president of information technology (IT). All local and regional newspaper IT leaders will report directly to him, Scripps said.

Mary Minser, the division's vice president of human resources, will continue in her role and will have all local human resources managers report directly to her.

All appointments are effective Sept. 1.


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