Amid word today that Leslie Hurst is assuming the publisher's job at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., I'm republishing the following post, which I originally wrote nearly two years ago, when she was the top executive of The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, La. Although the excellent "Chain Reaction" story was about Lafayette, it is a must-read for all Gannett watchers. Following is the post as it first appeared on Jan. 22, 2009:
In a heartbreaking story worth reading to the very last sentence, The Independent Weekly tells a harrowing tale about Gannett's stewardship of The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, La. The 143-year-old daily got swept up in the $1 billion Thomson Newspapers deal in mid-2000.
Writer Leslie Turk says in Chain Reaction: "Corporate newspaper giant Gannett has ransacked The Daily Advertiser, one of its most lucrative newspapers. And every penny of profit squeezed out of the daily has been wired straight to its Virginia headquarters.
"Lafayette is the poster child for this problem," the story says, "as Gannett has robbed this community to pay for its errors elsewhere. For centuries, locally owned papers had a different mission, but now the Advertiser's readers are being told they must pay for Gannett's mistakes and greed."
Publisher Leslie Hurst did not respond to the Weekly's calls or e-mail, the story says.