Tag Archives: Ricky Mathews

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?

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Personnel changes at the Birmingham News

Including a change at the top

A few personnel changes at the Birmingham News of note:

Ian R. RapoportIan R. Rapoport, University of Alabama sports beat reporter, is headed to his hometown to cover the New England Patriots for the Boston Herald. He writes on his final News blog post:

“In fact, the past three seasons spent covering Nick Saban — and Alabama football, basketball, baseball, gymnastics, and everything else — for The Birmingham News have been crazy, unpredictable, and incredibly rewarding.

“I had a blast.”

Scott Stantis• Editorial cartoonist Scott Stantis is headed to the Chicago Tribune. New WBHM-FM contributor Tim Lennox broke the story on his blog. Stantis writes on his News blog:

“It has been a great 13 years. Everything from Tinker Fob to Jimmy Blake to Bettye Fine to LaLa and every crazy thing in between. It has been my great honor to cartoon for the people of Birmingham, Jefferson County and Alabama. I hope you have liked it as much as I have.”

kurt-vanotsky-mugKurt Vantosky is the new vice president of advertising. He was previously at the Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune and the Anchorage Daily News. He told the News:

“I think the strong editorial commitment — its history and its continued belief of being the voice of the community — drew me to The Birmingham News.”

Ricky Mathews• Perhaps most intriguing is this item, sent to us by a News insider. Birmingham native Ricky Mathews is the new president and publisher of two Advance Publications properties, the (Mobile) Press-Register and the Mississippi Press in Pascagoula. (Amusingly enough, his name is misspelled in the announcement story.) He served in the same capacity at the Sun Herald in Gulfport and Biloxi, Miss.

But his job description doesn’t end there, as Mathews will also serve in a newly created position …

“Mathews was also named president of Advance Alabama/Mississippi and will assume oversight responsibility for the Birmingham News and the Huntsville Times, in addition to the Press-Register and Mississippi Press.”

What, if anything, does this mean for the ailing Birmingham News? Can anyone weigh in?

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