Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ex-N.J. pub quits Kansas daily after just 14 months

Skip Hidlay had been publisher of McClatchy Co.'s Wichita Eagle since March 2010, after leaving the top executive's job over two Gannett dailies in New Jersey: the Courier News and the Home News Tribune.

Hidlay
Today, the Eagle said he had resigned, effective immediately. Hidlay did not disclose his immediate plans, according to the paper's story.

However, it quoted him saying: "I have felt for some time that I was ready for a new challenge after 31 years in daily journalism. I want to make better use of my knowledge of strategic communications and digital journalism, my writing and editing abilities, and my talent for community leadership and marketing."

[Photo: Eagle]

29 comments:

  1. Seriously who cares. This is a blog about Gannett. Do you do posts about all ex G Toids? If you're going to do stories about exs tell is how good is good enough Mrs Brooks Johnson is doing.

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  2. He once was a hot-shot in Gannett, so yes I am interested to hear this. Goes to show me that the skills of being a GCI publisher don't translate to another company.

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  3. Hot shot? The dude was in Cherry Freakin Hill home of Poop Gate!

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  4. 9:22-No, It's not just about GCI. Many other newspaper company employees read this blog. They are employees of MNI, LEE, NYT, among others. I read this blog because GCI has always been a predictor of what other media companies are doing or will do in the future.

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  5. I worked with Skip at the courier post in cherry hill, new jersey. I thought he was a very talented journalist while he was there. After leaving for northern nj papers and reporting to that madman Bob Collins, something happened to skip. Maybe the courier post is what happened to him.

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  6. 9:22 I generally don't write about people after they leave Gannett. But there are always exceptions. (Former CEO Al Neuharth being a prime example.)

    Hidlay drew an especially big following among my readers when he was in N.J. For that reason, I thought some would be interested in his whereabouts today.

    Also, other publishers considering life beyond GCI might like to know what happened to one of their own.

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  7. He's the one who Ok'd the Courier News takeover of the Home News Tribune. Letting CP go was a serious SERIOUS mistake.

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  8. He's become a Witchita lineman. Sing it glenn...

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  9. 9:22, there are some of us who care very much about this information because there are some of us who still bear the scars of his reign of terror in Asbury Park. He was a star on the rise for a while in Gannett. We figured he was the heir apparent to Collins and anyone who was there will tell you it appeared Bob had handpicked him to succeed him. Then all of a sudden, the Pennsylvania/East Coast native was heading for Kansas? Why would you do that unless your Gannett star was falling? Would love to know the back story here.

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  10. Bet it was his choice to resign immediately. Now thats funny karma sort of sucks. To move to Kansas would be bad but to be unemployed in Kansas ouch. Bully act did't work in the midwest? Maybe he can get job in Montana or Idahado and use the talents he talks about.
    Chris Erwin

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  11. Well, I LIKE Skip and ENJOYED what little interaction I had with him. You can't please all the people all the time. I wish nothing but the best for him and his family.

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  12. Skip... anyone else's fault but his, Skip throw them under the bus Skip. Whose fault is it this time Skip?

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  13. What I remember of Skip, he came around the day before the big layoffs in 2008, introduced himself, game me a fake smile, shook my hand (which I have since coined "the "DEATH SHAKE") that very next morning - myself along with countless others were "All within reach" ...... of the door, that is! Wonder if he gave the others the fake smile and "Death Shake" as well? Look at the bright side - he can always "Deal Chicken!"

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  14. Everyone wants to trash everyone on this blog. Truth is... Skip was an incredible journalist who helped bring credibility and recognition to the papers he worked for. Tough, yes. Wanted to do the right things, yes. Hell, he even survived Bob Collins relatively intact, working for him at two seperate properties. Unfortunately, the newspaper business is not doing well and perhaps he burned out or was conflicted with the powers that be at Maclatchey. Very telling are the comments from readers following the article on the newspaper website:
    http://www.kansas.com/2011/05/10/1843515/publisher-leaving-the-eagle.html#ixzz1M3APLlK9

    •Yoknapatawpha
    A good man who understood the importance of real journalism to a community. He wasn't here long enough.

    JWink
    Eagle publisher, Bill "Skip" Hilday spoke at several local luncheons which I attended. He seemed to be a breath of fresh air in this town essentially run by an "old boy/girl network." Like an old steam engine, this network creaks along mostly making wrong decisions for our local version of "river city."

    To bad, he was just making his influence felt. Now all we can say is "Skip, best wishes in your future endeavors."

    It's very rare these days to read any positive comments like these when it is announced a publisher is leaving. Especially Gannett publishers.

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  15. MANY readers of this blog care to know what's happening to Skip, Jim, so don't listen to the naysayers.

    I have a lot of mixed feelings toward the guy. I worked under him at the APP. First, he was 1,000 times better than the idiot he replaced, Ray O. What a worm that fucker was. Barely ever left his office and was famous for squashing good investigative reporting. Under Skip the APP staff was actually able to put out some good journalism.

    However, over time something happened to Skip. He came in with the heart and soul of a good journalist, and I think Gannett began to warp that. I know it sounds overdramatic but I watched a change come over the man. I would eventually become dismayed at all the stupid Gannett edicts that he not only let pass, but would work to enforce.

    Skip's temper was legendary too. I can't tell you the stories I heard from editors who had to endure verbal lashings during planning meetings.

    Overall though? Say what you will about him, but the day he left, the APP began to slide downhill. This was accelerated when Hollis came on board.

    I too would love to know what the hell happened to propel him to the Eagle. If I remember correctly he has five kids, ranging from fairly young to college age, so moving from central Jersey (where he eventually settled in Stafford after coming in to the APP) must have been very disruptive and done for only very serious reasons. Would love some Wichita people to fill us in.

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  16. To quote John Goodman in the classic "Raising Arizona" explaining to Nick Cage why he and his brother had escaped from jail:

    "We believed that the penal system no longer had anything to offer us."

    Ha!

    The guy thinks he is too talented for journalism? My oh my!

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  17. Yes, OP, we all realize the name is Gannett blog, but the rest of us non-GCI folks don't have Jim, so we come here. We're all on this sinking ship together.
    11:16, hysterical. I love that movie.

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  18. Skip worked for 10 years at the AP, I think mostly in Connecticut, before joining the Courier Post and moving to Asbury. Unlike many Gannett editors, he understood the failings of the company, but he worked within its rigid systems to do his best. He was a terrific journalist, worked his heart out, expected others to do so also, paid his dues and, based on the Eagle story, seems ready to start a new job and a new career. I take my hat off to him.

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  19. Who cares about him and the APP is really sucks and i hope no one buy APP paper and i don't care about piece of shit APP paper!!!!

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  20. Don't think we'll be hearing much from Mr. Erwin in the future:

    TRENTON — Authorities have charged 22 people with trafficking millions of dollars worth of oxycodone tablets and selling the drugs to customers across the state, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced today. Among those arrested were two doctors -- one from New Jersey and another from New York.

    Fishman said 16 of the 22 suspects were arrested this morning, including the alleged ringleader, Christopher Erwin, 47, of Barnegat, and added that one person was already in custody.

    According to the criminal complaint, Erwin allegedly paid the two doctors, Jacqueline Lopresti, 50, of Fair Haven, and Hassan Lahham, 53, of New York, to write thousands of prescriptions between January 2009 and December 2010.

    Erwin and others members of the ring then sold the tablets at pharmacies in Monmouth, Ocean and Atlantic counties, the complaint said.

    The 16 defendants arrested today were to appear this afternoon in federal court in Trenton.

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  21. I miss Skip. And so should readers.

    A C-Pr.

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  22. first and foremost skip took care of skip...no matter what the cost to others. and it happened too, too often... and that's a shame.

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  23. Skip took care of skip??? So does a lot of the people still in charge at the APP. You are all stone throwing now, but Skip was and is a wonderful, credible journalist. He will come out on top.

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  24. A great journalist does not always make a great publisher.

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  25. I enjoyed working for Skip at the APP and was sorry to see him go. He told it like it was and if you worked hard, he recognized it. As for blaming him for the "take-over" of the HNT by the C-N, you are ignoring the fact that both papers were in a circulation tail spin and free falling . What was the alternative, fold one of the papers? I would welcome Skip back to the APP in a heartbeat, but he's too smart to get back on the sinking ship that is Gannett

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  26. come on, no way Skip "quit," as the headline suggests, just so he could think about doing something else. wish there was a pipeline into the McClatchy folks to find out what happened here ... another comment was probably right, a good/great (debatable) editor does not necessarily make a good publisher ... in the right place, the corporate strings control the puppets ... it doesn't really matter that it's Gannett or McClatchy or any other big company ... skip will do fine cranking out those strategically focused PR releases for the local chamber of commerce or hospitals

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  27. I thought it was funny when he went to the HN and C-N. That's like being banished to Siberia in Gannett-land. Two shitty papers that not even a genius could save.

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  28. Skip at his best...

    http://www.ajr.org/Article.asp?id=3762

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  29. Bit of an update on this one. Skip Hidlay has, indeed, become the executive communications manager for a large Wichita hospital system. Just an FYI.

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Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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