December 16, 2009

Buyout offers popping up at Newhouse newspapers in Alabama

Media of Birmingham and Lagnaippe both report that more employees at the Newhouse news organizations in Alabama are weighing buyout offers. The offers to non-union employees are capped at six months for those at the Mobile Press-Registrer, Huntsville Times and Birmingham News.

Lagnaippe  has details about the Mobile Press-Registrer; Media of Birmingham has more details about the Birmingham News and a mention about the Huntsville Times.

And yes, Victor Hanson III retired as publisher of the Birmingham News. He had announced his leaving in late September. An article and a Tom Scarritt column marked his leaving Dec. 1. His retirement means that for the first time in nearly a century a Hanson does not lead the newspaper.

Hanson, who plans to head back to college, told The Birmingham News he is proud of having led the Birmingham News Co.'s expansion into direct mail, specialty publishing and advertising services to broaden its revenue stream.
  "We intentionally developed the talent and focused on the need our clients had to reach the market in ways beyond the printed product," Hanson told the News.
No update on what's happening with the lawsuit by the ex-publisher of The Press-Registrar.. But  Lagnaippe questions the accuracy in the reporting of Howard Bronson's exit from the news organization.
"... did the paper intentionally print a lie when it told readers Bronson had retired?"In
In the lawsuit, Bronson claims he was forced out after 18 years and despite what he believed was a lifetime job guarantee.

Although  the Lagnaippe writer admits that he does not know what the reporters, and perhaps even the editors, were told about Bronson's departure, he suggests that the news organization needs to tell the truth about its affairs to maintain the public's trust.
.".. it seems if Bronson was fired, someone in the corporate chain determined that a lie should be printed, which destroys the paper’s credibility.

"Either that or Bronson did retire and then forgot and decided to sue, which would make him insane or crazy, or both. (From the Department of Redundancy Department.)

"If a newspaper lies in print about its internal business, to my way of thinking that’s no different than lying about any other story. The credibility’s in the crapper, and that’s really what matters in the news biz.
Mistakes are one thing, but fabrication is another. I hope if it did happen, someone at the P-R will have the cajones to own up to it."

Wow.  No mincing of the words in that column. By the way, as long as you're cruising that site check out the words on the P-R's circulation report.

December 15, 2009

Advance rearranging top jobs; Arwady moving on

Two publishers with long-time ties to Michigan, face major changes this month in Advance Pubications.

Larry McDermott, publisher of The Republican in Springfield, Mass., since 1999, announced Tuesday that he will retire at the end of the year. George Arwady, publisher of The Star-Ledger of Newark, will assume the duties of publisher at The Republican. Penn Jersey Advance President Richard Vezza will also take on the role of publisher at the Star-Ledger.

The Republican, Star-Ledger and Penn Jersey Advance are part of the Advance Publications.

McDermott and Arwady have the Michigan ties. McDermott, 61, was publisher of The Bay City Times when he was named executive editor of the Springfield newspaper in 1991. Arwady worked with the Kalamazoo Gazete, Muskegon Chronicle and Saginaw News in Michigan.

Arwady, 62, was publisher of the Kalamazoo Gazette before going to the Newark newspaper in 2005. The Brooklyn native grew up in New Jersey and spent 34 years of his newspaper career in Michigan. The Republican is the fifth news organization he will run for the Newhouse's Advance Publications.

Arwady was editor and publisher of the Muskegon Chronicle from 1980-88, where he helped start "New Muskegon," an organization designed to give the comunity a boost. Another big project was trying to convince Muskegon to publicly fund a cross-lake ferry project in 1987. The public turned down the proposal.

Arwady also was editor of The Saginaw News, where in June 1977 he started a weekly "Tell it to the Editor" soundoff column for readers.

Verzza, 61, joined Penn Jersey, which is three daily newspapers and a chain of weekly newspapers in New Jersey, and The Express-Times in Pennsylvania in 2000. The long-time New Jersey journalist will continue in that Penn Jersey position, according to an article on

A number of journalists recall working with McDermott in a story over on Plus, find details about the careers of McDermott and Arwady. Arkansas State University also  posted a good bio when McDermott closed out the Journalism Alumni Speaker Series in November 2008.

Read some of McDermott's recent columns on, including one on a subject dear to his heart: Open meetings.

(Thanks for all who alerted me to this news as I spent the day offline, chatting face-to-face with a friend and struggling to find some perfect presents.)

Updated Jan. 5, 2010: to include Arwady's memo:
Dear Star-Ledger Colleagues:
Effective at the end of the year, I will be leaving Newark to assume the publisher responsibilities at The Republican, our company's newspaper in Springfield, MA. Your new publisher will be Rich Vezza, president of Penn-Jersey Advance Newspapers.
Rich, who is well-known to many of you, has been responsible for our company's daily newspapers in Jersey City, Gloucester, Bridgeton and Salem, N.J., as well as the daily in Easton, PA. He also has headed the company's NJN weekly newspapers, which include the Hunterdon Democrat, the Somerset Reporter, the Suburban News and the Independent Press. In his new position Rich will be seeking additional ways in which those newspapers can work together with The Star-Ledger and the Times of Trenton, as well as with our affiliate website, Each newspaper will retain its individual identity, while seeking collaboration that will help us weather these extremely challenging times for all newspapers.
 I know Rich well. He's a real Jersey guy, having spent a lifetime working in New Jersey newspapers, both in news and business operations. He's a straight-shooter with a great sense of humor who will fit in well here. I'm sure you'll give him the same full support and cooperation that I've enjoyed over the past 5 years.
 I want to express my great appreciation and admiration for all of you and your work here. The Star-Ledger is a great newspaper, and I'm proud to have worked with you to help keep it strong through these very challenging times. I always will value your friendship, and treasure our accomplishments here together.

Thank you for everything, from the bottom of my heart.
George Arwady