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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Get someone from accounting!

Sometime Friday, the staff at the State Journal-Register met their new publisher. (New SJ-R publisher reassures readers | Says print, online editions will live on.)

Scott Bowers, group controller for the GateHouse Media Inc. papers in Illinois, will succeed Sue Schmitt as State Journal-Register publisher on Dec. 18, but he told newspaper employees Friday he expects to spend much of the next two weeks in Springfield.

Welcome, Mr. Bowers, to Springfield. As you settle into your new job, always remember that the State Journal-Register is more than a newspaper. It's an institution. (I just made that up; but it's true.)

GateHouse Media co-president and chief operating officer Scott Champion, who introduced Bowers to the newspaper staff Friday, said he understands the sudden resignations of Schmitt, Locher and Pope created negative perceptions in the community about their departure and the future of the newspaper.

The best way to quell such negative perceptions is to do right by the paper's employees, readers, and advertisers, and not diminish the quality of what gets printed. It may be easy for some of us to doubt that will happen simply for the fact that Gatehouse put a "numbers man" in the top spot. However, we hope this is actually on Gatehouse's agenda for the SJR.

Champion said Schmitt, Pope and Locher each accepted a buyout offer from Copley Press, but were prevented from discussing the package by a confidentiality agreement. The Copley offer was to expire at the end of this year, he said. (Emphasis added.)

This Copley buyout is new information and gives some credence to Sue Schmitt's previous statement that they weren't leaving "because of an insider’s view of something catastrophic just over the horizon."

So, good luck to Mr. Bowers. Maybe someday we can all have a publisher's meet-up and you can wear your newspaperman's hat and us bloggers will wear our pajamas and we'll smoke cigars and drink scotch and swap stories about pushing that publish button.

Posted by Marie at December 1, 2007 4:38 PM


Hey, if those newspaper people are smart, they'd do that meetup with you sooner rather than later.

Posted by: Dan at December 6, 2007 10:34 AM