Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Jackson, Miss. | Pub Whitaker is out; Hurst is in

The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., is now reporting the following in a two-paragraph story:

Leslie Hurst, publisher of The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, La., has been chosen to replace Larry Whitaker as publisher of the Clarion-Ledger. Whitaker announced his retirement today, effective Dec. 31. Whitaker was named publisher of the Clarion-Ledger in 2006.

I've received no word yet on Hurst's replacement in Lafayette. In its story, the Advertiser says a new publisher "will be named quickly."

The shakeup is the latest in a recent surge of top newspaper publishers being replaced, amid Gannett Blog speculation that the U.S. newspaper division is undergoing a broader reorganization.

Hurst's memo
In a memo just provided to me, Hurst wrote the following:

Friends & Colleagues,

Please forgive this impersonal communiqué, but I want to ensure that you hear this news from me, rather than through the grapevine.

I was, this morning, named president & publisher of The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., Mississippi's capital city. I will continue in my role as a vice president of Gannett's South Group. Jackson's publisher announced his retirement this morning as well.

These moves often happen very quickly. It's always a whirlwind, and it certainly feels more that way during the busy holiday season.

My e-mail address remains the same.

My new mailing address is:

The Clarion-Ledger
201 South Congress Street
Jackson, MS  39201
office phone (601) 961-7201

For the time being, cell remains the same, but it will change.

Merry Christmas to everyone, and let me hear from you. I will miss my Lafayette friends and colleagues.

-- Leslie Hurst

Earlier: Puzzling spotlight on random exec


  1. The man brought in to be the hatchet man in 2006 gets the axe 4 years later.

  2. Hurst is one of the most treacherous of the butt kissing, bipolar lackeys at Gannett! Don't believe me? Check her history. Without remorse, she has left nothing but despair, animosity and empty newsrooms in her wake!!!
    Now she's at the C/L.... omg! Goodbye Clarion-Ledger! Hurst on your doorstep spells doom to the hard working, award winning staff still hanging on by their fingernails!!!
    Watch. Nothing good will come of this.
    And "retirement" my ass. You got what you deserved Whitaker. Karma... bitch ain't she?

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. My Christmas wish came early - Whitaker is gone. However, I also asked for someone to save the sinking ship, and so far Santa seems to be turning a deaf ear. The hard-working folks left at the C-L deserve something positive in 2011!

  5. In recent years, Hurst has been the subject of more negative comments than virtually any other publisher referenced on this blog. With that in mind, I have always drawn the line at use of the word, "bitch."

    Following is an edited version of a comment posted at 1:28.

    Hurst wrote: "I will miss my Lafayette friends and colleagues."
    Classic delusions.
    [XXXXX] didn't have any friends here!!!! And no one misses YOU, Leslie!!! We cheered your leaving!!!
    This woman as head of anything except the lunch line at the loony bin is a disgrace to journalists and the journalism everywhere.
    Google her.

  6. Sadly, on so many levels, there is no evidence that this lady truly has a friend in Lafayette. Maybe the jokes on us, but all evidence points to her being coo-coo crazy. I feel so sad for the good people in Mississippi. I know there are a few war-torn souls left in the giant building The Advertiser built way back in 2005, but for the most part that paper is dead. The C-L still has life in it...for now. So sad that she is the person being sent there.

    To the Circ director in Jackson, get ready to wash some Cadillac. She likes it clean it and shiny -- and she'll want you to do it personally, since everything about her and her life will be top-secret to all the minions.

  7. C-L employees, many of you are doomed. The rest will wish you'd been laid off with the others. More a lump of coal in your stocking than a Christmas present. Soon you'll be wishing Larry was still around.

  8. The idea of Jim drawing a line is a silly one. There are no lines here; the attacks go on and on.

    Remember when you said you would make this place more civil, Jim? When do you plan to start? Grow a backbone.

  9. What you aren't reading are all the comments that I remove.

  10. Your edit to remove the word "bitch" while telling us that the word was "bitch" was one of the goofiest things I've ever read here. Bitchin'!

  11. 3:56 I won't ban a word's use without first identifying it in full.

  12. If all Hurst wants is her car washed, then consider yourselves lucky as Cincinnati’s likes her car fueled and other services including appropriately presenting her food for lunch.

    Frankly, its hard to believe that given all the layoffs this company's put its employees through that practices like this still continue as while it may save publishers “time” it sends the wrong message.

    An interesting read would be in seeing what "perks" Gannett’s site leaders continue to take for themselves like these.

  13. Jim, thanks for keeping this blog as uncensored as possible. Your reporting has been flawless, and if those who run these newspapers appreciated such professionalism, we'd have better newspapers. If corporate leaders kept a better eye on their top "managers," you wouldn't have runaway trains like Leslie Hurst, who robbed a vibrant city of a viable newspaper, or Larry Whitaker, who offended half his advertising base. How smart are these "leaders"? Hurst had to point out that Jackson is Mississippi's capital to the "dear friends" she's leaving behind in the state next door. Does she think they're that ignorant, or is it just her?

  14. Larry was a decent guy with a tough assignment. Remember who he worked for and the mission handed down.

  15. My sympathies to those in Jackson. Leslie is heartless and paranoid. She gutted The Daily Advertiser, ran off good people and killed the morale of those left.

  16. I left voluntarily because of her like so many others. She's in a different world.

    I'd like to see another thread of interesting LH stories including gems like the horse tape yarn.

  17. General advice to C-L employees on how to survive LH:

    1) Never, under any circumstances, approach her, and never, ever, ever enter her office.

    2) After her first day on site when she makes her rounds and smiles, you may never see her again. Should you, however, a year from now, see her flitting across the newsroom or through the ad department as if being out among the people is something she does every day, disguise your shock and know that someone from corporate is visiting. Seriously.

    3) LH will be two very different people. Maybe three. You never know which one you'll be dealing with. It's safest to just keep your distance.

    4) Wine. Lots of it. (Not for you, silly.)

    5) Throw all rational arguments/thoughts out of your head. They are no longer needed here. Welcome to CrazyLand. It's kind of like CandyLand without the Candy Cane Forest and Gum Drop Mountain. Sorry, but the dice has rolled. You've been dealt a card no one wants.

    6) When she starts some grand initiative involving all sorts of people to do all sorts of things, just go along with it. DO NOT, under any circumstances, invest your mind or energy into said initiative. It's all a ruse and will go absolutely no where. In fact, she may or may not show up for the grand reveal of The Great Plan. Nothing will happen to those fine ideas others have sweated and bled over. Know that now and save yourself the hassle.

    7) She has an in-crowd and an out-crowd. These players change at a moments notice and for no apparent reason. It's not you.

  18. If all of these things are true, she sounds like one weird person.

    Maybe someday Gannett will be able to have both Hurst and Silverman at the same site at the same time.

    That could be real interesting!

  19. Impossible. They're the same person.

  20. Having served on an OC with Larry Whitaker, I have no pity in my heart for his "retirement." However, I'm not pleased with as I don't think Larry is all that broken up about it either.


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