Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ladue News publisher, editor start new paper

A group of Ladue News employees have left the St. Louis-area Lee Enterprises lifestyle paper to start a rival publication.

The new Town & Style will debut Feb. 9. Thirty issues are planned for the first year; a weekly schedule is planned after that. It will be led by former Ladue News publisher Lauren Rechand and editor Dorothy Weiner, and will employee about 15 people. Eight more former Ladue News employees have already joined Town & Style.

Weiner told the St. Louis Business Journal that Lee's corporate structure forced her, and several other Ladue News employees, to leave that publication.

"There's no question that Lee Enterprises, the parent company (of Ladue News), is very bottom-line focused," she said. "Ladue News has always been something of a family business. Even after it was sold to Pulitzer, we were left alone and we were allowed to run independently. Recently, there is more of a shift to (Lee) homogenizing all holdings in St. Louis. That was what people rebelled against."

(Via e-mail; send tips, links and memos to lee.ent.watch@gmail.com.)

Times helping city find investors

The Times of Northwest Indiana is pushing the limits of interest and conflict of interest.

The Times and the Metropolitan Planning Council are leading the Gary and Region Investment Project, or GRIP. The group wants to influence tourism and economic prosperity in Gary and neighboring communities. The Times will be responsible for finding private investors, pursuing state and federal grants and approving development proposals.

Times editor Bill Nangle told the New York Times that his paper's role was not a conflict of interest.
Mr. Nangle described the paper as the “connective tissue” that was letting the public know about development proposals.

The Times has already written a handful of stories about GRIP; some of them quote Nangle and publisher Bill Masterson Jr.

(Via e-mail; send tips, links and memos to lee.ent.watch@gmail.com.)

Lee expects revenue to decline

In a forecast report filed with the SEC, Lee Enterprises says its revenue will continue to improve in the first quarter, which ends Dec. 26, and its total operating revenue will drop 1 percent compared to a year ago.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lee names publisher for Idaho, Nevada papers

John Pfeifer has been appointed publisher of The Times-News in Twin Falls, Idaho, and the Elko Daily Free Press in Elko, Nev.

Pfeifer previously served as advertising director at the Times-News and general manager at the Daily Free Press.

Times-News editor and publisher Brad Hurd announced his retirement in September. Daily Free Press publisher Rhonda Zuraff left in October. Twin Falls, Idaho, is about 165 miles from Elko, Nev.

Post-Dispatch columnist takes on evaluation system

St. Louis Post-Dispatch employees are completing employee evaluations for the first time, a poorly functioning Lee Enterprises system many have hated for years. Columnist Bill McClellan wrote about his experience, comparing the system to the "Loser Patrol."
I was supposed to rate myself in a number of areas. The rule was this — I wasn't supposed to give myself the highest grade in anything. I don't mean to be egotistical, but I had planned on giving myself a lot of very high grades.

I know what these evaluations are for. I don't want to make it easy to fire me. Especially since the company I work for is not exactly known for being warm and fuzzy. Last week, it told many retirees that their free medical coverage was ending and that they would have to pay the full premium.
Read his full column here.

(Via e-mail; send tips, links and memos to lee.ent.watch@gmail.com.)