Tag Archives: publishing

EXCLUSIVE: Birmingham News executive editor Hunter George to retire in April

Hunter George is stepping down at the Birmingham News on April 30. The newspaper’s executive editor sent an e-mail to his newsroom colleagues on Wednesday to announce his departure:

At the end of April, I plan to retire after 42 years in the newspaper business. That career includes

  • covering Jane Fonda while getting pepper-gassed at the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach,
  • interviewing Otis Redding, Little Richard and B.B. King,
  • covering one Super Bowl and two Orange Bowls,
  • enticing 30 Miami cops to leave their duty posts and meet me at the FOP hall to complain about the chief,
  • covering a Beatles concert,
  • covering two plane crashes,
  • covering the 1972 Senate race in Florida,
  • supervising 150 summer interns,
  • working 40 election nights,
  • taking a call from Jimmy Cagney at 8:30 on a Sunday morning,
  • and telling the executive editor of The Miami Herald that there was nothing going on one morning and having him respond: “There’s plenty going on; you just don’t know about it.”

What we journalists do is more interesting than what most people do. It has been a privilege to work with you for the past 12 years. I shall think of you all fondly and I promise to call whenever I see a typo.

The News has seen several changes at the top, most recently the arrival of new publisher and president Pam Siddall. Also, buyout offers have been made to the entire staff, with the deadline extended till March. Parent company Advance Publications will end its “no layoffs” pledge at the end of next week.

No word on if or how George’s position will be filled.

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Birmingham Works magazine celebrates 1-year anniversary

birmingham works fall 2009 coverBirmingham Works magazine reached its 1-year anniversary with the publication of its fall issue.

The business publication by Vertical Solutions Media will move from a quarterly to a bimonthly schedule in 2010, and the January/February issue will be available at Books-A-Million/Joe Muggs stores.

The current issue, available online, features an interview with Michael Newsome of Hibbett Sports, making your business greener and a look at volunteer organization Hands on Birmingham.

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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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EXCLUSIVE: 4Love Magazine to launch in September

Birmingham photographer (and former Post-Herald shooter) Karim Shamsi-Basha has launched a Christian publication, 4Love Magazine.

4love magazine preview coverThe print and online publication features three former Coastal Living editors on the masthead.

A preview issue is available on the magazine’s Web site, 4lovemag.com.

The launch party takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Folk Art Gallery, located in the Young and Vann Building, 1731 First Ave. N. [map].

Scheduled to attend is magazine advisory board member Samir Husni, a magazine consultant known as Mr. Magazine. Husni will talk about “why Birmingham continues to lead in an industry rocked by the economic meltdown.”

Update: The actual bimonthly magazine launches in September 2010. (Note: We’ve changed the post title to reflect this update.)

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Joe O’Donnell to launch B-Metro magazine

b-metro magazine logoDoes Birmingham need another city lifestyle magazine? In addition to Birmingham Magazine, Portico, Thicket (which covers all of Alabama) and the recently launched online-only Pavo Magazine comes B-Metro.

Joe O’Donnell, who left Birmingham Magazine in July, plans to launch B-Metro in November with two colleagues who departed at the same time. (The Web site is live, but not yet finished.)

In an interview with the Birmingham News, he discusses his plans for the new publication:

“We’ll be publishing great writers and photographers, columnists, bloggers and everyday people who have something to say, information to share and insights into the richness and excitement of life in this seven-county region.”

MOBster André Natta will be one of the columnists in the new publication.

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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?

Southern Accents shuts down

Southern Progress drops second magazine in nine months

Southern Accents coverTime Inc. closed Birmingham-based magazine Southern Accents today, but plans on continuing the site SouthernAccents.com. No word as to what will happen to the employees of the magazine.

Southern Accents is the second Southern Progress magazine to fold in nine months, following Cottage Living’s demise in November. Ad revenue for Southern Accents dropped a whopping 32.1 percent from the first six months of 2008 to the same period of this year.

Update: Southern Accents’ 20 employees are laid off, though editor-in-chief Karen Carroll could stay on with Southern Progress in another capacity. Also, executive vice president Sylvia Auton came from New York to deliver the news to staff in person.

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Hoffman Media launches ‘Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade’ magazine

While many Birmingham media outlets are cutting back, Hoffman Media is growing. The publisher launched a new magazine, “Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade,” in February.


“It was an easy, fluid fit,” Lee says of teaming with Phyllis Hoffman and her sons, Brian and Eric. “She ‘got’ the brand, as did her sons. Semi-homemade has to be something you feel in your tummy and your heart and you know in your head.”

The Birmingham News tagged along during Lee’s photo shoot at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Copy editor – Progressive Farmer

Our pal Claire passed this along:

alabama live

The Progressive Farmer magazine has a full-time opportunity in its editorial department for a copy editor. Copy editor’s main responsibilities include editing magazine articles produced by our award-winning staff of editors.

In addition, copy editor will help update the magazine’s Web site, so experience with Web applications and content-management tools is helpful.

Copy editor also works with Green Valley Custom Publishing, a division of Progressive Farmer that produces Merial SureHealth magazine for animal pharmaceutical client.

Candidate must have either a Bachelor’s degree in English or journalism and a strong command of AP style, with three to five years of copy-editing experience preferred. Knowledge of content management Web tools and Adobe InDesign preferred. Candidate must have good verbal communication skills and be able to juggle several projects, working closely with editors to ensure accuracy and quality with attention to deadlines.

To apply for the copy editor position, send a cover letter and resume with references to Claire.vath@progressivefarmer.com. Applicants will be required to take a copy-editing test. No phone calls, please.

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