Tag Archives: publisher

Alabamian Pam Siddall named Birmingham News president and publisher

First time in 100 years without a Hanson at the helm

The Birmingham News named Pam Siddall as president and publisher today. The Phenix City native spent the last 2 years a publisher of The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, part of the McClatchy chain.

Siddall, 41, starts Jan. 11, replacing Victor Hanson III, who retired in December. A member of the Hanson family had served as publisher of the daily Advance Publications newspaper since 1909.

Siddall, the News’ first female president and publisher, said in a written statement:

“I am thrilled to be the next publisher at The Birmingham News. … The Birmingham News has an outstanding reputation as the leading source of news, information and commentary — in print and online.  I am extremely excited about working with the team to embrace the transformation into a 24/7 multimedia organization.”

She was also the Eagle’s first female publisher. Her last day there is Friday.

Siddall graduated summa cum laude from Columbus State University in Georgia with a bachelor of arts degree in accounting. Her past experience (via her LinkedIn profile):

  • President and Publisher, Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer, August 2004 – November 2007
    • Vice President & General Manager, December 2003 – August 2004
  • Vice President, Chief Financial Officer/Circulation, Macon (Ga.) Telegraph, March 2001 – December 2003
  • Chief Financial Officer, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, May 1997 – March 2001
  • Division Controller, Russell Corporation, February 1994 – March 1997
  • Senior Financial Analyst, WC Bradley, January 1993 – February 1994
    • Junior Analyst, May 1991 – January 1993

She also has profiles on Facebook and Twitter (@siddallAUfan).

Photo: Mike Hutmacher/The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle

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EXCLUSIVE: Birmingham News offers buyouts to employees across the board

The Birmingham News offered buyouts today to employees, the third round of buyouts in 16 months. Media of Birmingham has learned that all employees will be eligible this round, regardless of number of years of service or full-time or part-time status.

Birmingham NewsPast buyouts were limited to those with at least 5 years of service.

Our insiders tell us that full-time employees taking the buyout would receive 2 weeks of pay for every year of service, while part-time employees would receive 1 week of pay for every year of service. Both are capped at 6 months.

The daily newspaper is looking for “substantial staff reductions,” this time, but says no layoffs are planned for Feb. 6, when the Advance Publications’ “no layoff” pledge expires. The newspaper has not only faced an advertising shortfall because of the down economy but also a 10.8 percent drop in weekday circulation.

Earlier this year, the News cut benefits and required furloughs.

Meanwhile, the Birmingham News will look for a publisher to replace recently retired publisher Victor Hanson III.

Update Dec. 9: Another insider tells us that the buyouts have been offered at the other two Advance newspapers in Alabama: the Huntsville Times and the Press-Register in Mobile. Also, the buyouts are apparently limited to non-union employees.

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More changes at the top for the Birmingham News

Publisher retires, but what’s next?

Back in August, we reported that Advance Publications gave oversight responsibilities for the Birmingham News to new president Ricky Mathews. It appears that may have precipitated the latest major shakeup at the News, with publisher Victor Hanson III retiring Dec. 1. No word yet as to who will be tapped to replace him.

Hanson, the fourth family member to serve as publisher, will retire at age 53 after 8 years at the top position. He’s not the only Advance publisher leaving: Fred A. Stickel of the Oregonian in Portland retired in September at age 87 after 35 years. (Hat tip Inside Out McwFlint.)

One definite ripple effect from Mathews’ hire is a lawsuit by former (Mobile) Press-Register publisher Howard Bronson against Advance:

Bronson said Newhouse officials in July 2009 reneged on a longstanding job security pledge for the paper’s employees and in August told him that he had two weeks to leave.

A message left with Mark Newhouse was not immediately returned.

Lagniappe, Mobile’s alternative newspaper, has more details on Bronson’s lawsuit.

Media of Birmingham broke the story about Advance’s ending of the no-layoffs policy, often called the Newhouse Pledge. A former Press-Register reporter offers his take on the pledge’s demise.

Who will take over the News, Alabama’s largest newspaper? And will the News and Press-Register begin layoffs in February when the pledge expires?