Monday, August 27, 2012

USAT | With new publishers, how soon we forget

[Kramer, Hunke]

USA Today's newest publisher, Larry Kramer, may prove to be the paper's best chief executive.

But a recent reader comment reminded me that every publisher has supporters in the beginning -- but not necessarily at the end.

Here's what I'm talking about: On Friday, Anonymous@8:52 accused another reader of dragging down the paper. "You are so stuck in the past and your own personal disappointments that you refuse to see or recognize anything positive," they wrote.

Kramer's predecessor, Dave Hunke is gone, 8:52 noted, and Kramer and his new editor, David Callaway, "are a great team and are ready to move USAT forward."

Of course, we heard similar accolades about Hunke, too, when he was promoted to publisher from chief executive of Gannett's Detroit newspaper operations in April 2009. Back then, it was a Detroit co-worker who wrote: "I am fortunate enough to work for Dave Hunke here in Detroit. I will miss his vision, his positivity, and his willingness to see the greatness of Detroit. We all learned from him."


  1. Frankly, until the leaders at all levels of management of this newspaper earn back the trust of employees, I don't really give a damn who is the publisher.

    The memories of the horrible acts against current and former employees over last four years isn't likely to be wiped out by any one man or woman at the top.

    USAT broke a basic trust. Publishers and top editors lied and deceived staff.

  2. Hunke is NOT gone -- he is getting a damn award in a month for his "transformation" of USAT. The joke continues.

  3. 04/28/2009

    Gannett names David Hunke president, publisher of USA TODAY; John Hillkirk named editor of USA TODAY

    McLEAN, VA –David Hunke today was named president and publisher of USA TODAY. Hunke currently is chief executive officer of the Detroit Media Partnership and publisher of the Detroit Free Press.

    The announcement was made by Craig Dubow, Gannett chairman, president and chief executive officer, at the company’s Annual Shareholders Meeting here.

    “Dave is a highly talented, multi-faceted leader, who drives excellence throughout his organization while making the tough business decisions. At the same time, he has the courage to be innovative and take chances. He is just the right person for USA TODAY at this juncture,” said Dubow. “I am thrilled he will be joining my executive team.”

    Hunke headed the team that this month won the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. He also led the Detroit Media Partnership through a ground-breaking transformation earlier this year which changed the way the two newspapers in the city are produced and delivered.

    Also today, Hunke named John Hillkirk editor of USA TODAY. Hillkirk currently is executive editor of the newspaper.

    Said Hunke: “John has taken on every challenge USA TODAY has thrown at him and not only succeeded, but did it with calm assurance and creativity. He is a top-notch journalist with great instincts who also understands and can articulate the future of the industry. Together, John and I can make a real difference at the nation’s newspaper.”

    Hunke succeeds Craig Moon, who retired on April 17. Hillkirk succeeds Ken Paulson, who left in February.

    USA TODAY is the flagship newspaper and Web site of Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) with a daily readership circulation of more than 3.5 million people and monthly unique visitors of more than 11.5 million.


    David Hunke has been CEO of the Detroit Media Partnership and publisher of the Detroit Free Press since 2005. Prior to that, he was president and publisher of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle from 1999 to 2005 and vice president of Advertising for the Cincinnati Enquirer from 1992-1999.

    He began his journalism career in 1974 in advertising sales at the Kansas City Star. He held various sales positions beginning in 1977 with the Knight-Ridder company, including advertising director of The Miami Herald. He is a graduate of the University of Kansas with a BS in journalism.

    John Hillkirk has been an editor and reporter at USA TODAY since the newspaper launched in 1982. He was named executive editor in 2004 after serving nine years as managing editor of the newspaper’s Money section. Prior to joining USA TODAY, he was a business reporter at the Times-Union in Rochester and the Valley Dispatch in Tarentum, PA.

    He is the co-author of three books: “Xerox: American Samurai”; “Grots Guts and Genius”; and “A Better Idea: Redefining the Way Americans Work.” He is a graduate of Allegheny College in Meadville, PA.

  4. 12:53 "USAT broke a basic trust. Publishers and top editors lied and deceived staff." And what exactly does that mean? What lies did they tell you? You'd never have to be part of Gannett? You could write one column a week and never have to do anything else? I am curious.

  5. The inexplicable rise and status of Hilllkirk, Weiss, Czarniak, Colton, Teeuwen, Horwich and Heather Frank is all on Hunke. Bad managers, bad judgement, bad karma.

    Thanks Hunkster.

  6. Go away, David L Hunke. You deserve what you get.

    Or don't get.

  7. The only good news in that 2009 news release is that smilin' Ken Paulson left. To grab even bigger bucks at the freedom forum, his reward for kissing Big Al's azz for decades.

  8. Gotta laugh at that 2009 memo. Dubow's middle school bravado. He, hunke and hillkirk: the three blind mice.

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  10. You have Callaway's name mispelled as Calloway, Jem.

  11. 8:09 Thank you. I've now fixed that.

  12. Geez...we can't get away from the taint of Dave Hunke fast enough. Massive failure.

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

  14. Award winning massive failure.

    These chumps always manage to have the last laugh.
    Are they just feigning ignorance?

  15. Who wrote the crappy press releases from Dubow? Yeesh.


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