January 5, 2010

Family, Internet challenge draws new publisher to Alabama

Family is one reason why Pam Siddall is heading to the Birmingham News, according to The Eagle in Wichita. But an interview on al.com indicates the challenge of a new model of business is a draw.

Her parents, five siblings and their families - live in Phenix City, Ala., three hours from the Newhouse news organization's base in Alabama, Siddall told the Wichita Eagle.
"Recent health issues with my parents kind of tugged at my heart that it was time to come back home."
Family is important, but don't dismiss the challenges waiting in Alabama. In an interview, Sidall told the Birmingham News: about some of her thinking:
"Take a step back, take a blank piece of paper and tell me if you were start­ing this business today un­der the current economic conditions, given the priori­ties that we know need to be in place, draw what that looks like. Let me tell you, that is hard to do. But you have to do it."
She also said
"I think that we will probably be a smaller, leaner organi­zation focused on very, very specific vision and strategy. We're going to feel good about where we are. We're going to be the best. That would be a good place to be in the next 12 to 18 months."
That should get a few more people to consider accepting the buyout offer on the table at the Advance Publications newspapers in Alabama.
"I think you will see a culture here, an orga­nization that really sees it­self as a 24-7 multimedia operation. You will see a culture here where people believe in personal accoun­tability and have a spirit of competitiveness, that we're going to win. I would like to see some chins held up and some pride in what we do every day."
Already, lots of changes in Alabama with a new structure for Advance Publications and new management. Those changes even extended to al.com, the online afflicate for the newspapers, with the resignation of one editor and the appointment of a director of content. (Ken Booth was replaced by Robert Sims, who had been Internet editor at the Birmingham News.)

By the way, some Flint Journal folks might remember Marty Carry, who worked in classified sales from March 2003-June 2004. He became vice president of advertising at the Wichita Eagle in March 2009.


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