Sunday, August 18, 2013

Nashville | Hollingsworth interviewed: 'There’s this pressure to live in this world of public service, and yet we’re a business. That’s difficult.'

Publisher Laura Hollingsworth spoke at length with The Tennessean's business editor for a Q&A published today. They covered the paper's recent layoffs, the value in hiring from outside the industry, and the future of print journalism.

Hollingsworth, 46, is also president of Gannett's Central Group of dailies in 25 markets, a reorganized regional division based in Nashville since her move there in May. She had been chief executive of The Des Moines Register.

Her new job further raised her profile at the nation's largest newspaper publisher, making her an even stronger contender to be the next president of the overall U.S. Community Publishing division, the company's biggest and most challenged.

Here's one of the questions business editor Lance Williams asked:

Q. How do you deal with the public perception of what a news organization should be, versus the business realities you face?

A. I’ve always felt our business is built on a lot of dichotomies, right? We are trying to do things for the greater good of the community, and we’re doing First Amendment work, and doing work that — quite frankly — no one else is doing in the journalism arena. But at the same time, we are not a nonprofit company. There’s not a red cross on the side of this building.

I’m being facetious, but there’s this pressure to live in this world of public service, and yet we’re a business. That’s difficult.

Our job is economic growth and development. Our job IS the greater good of this community. Our job is to help this community grow and flourish and thrive. Our job is to help people who live here live better lives, maybe in part because of some of the work we are doing.


  1. I'm sorry, but I'm confused. I thought Carol Hudler would continue to be the publisher when Hollingsworth arrived. What IS Hudler's title now, and what is her role?

    1. At the time Hollingsworth was promoted to Nashville, Hudler was made special assistant to U.S. Community Publishing President Bob Dickey.

      Corporate said: "She will oversee strategic initiatives for USCP that aim to better serve our business clients."

      Others may chime in on this. I think she's been put in a holding pattern until another job opens, or she might decide to leave the company.

    2. At the time, saw that as moving her in line to be president, not Laura. (I'm more of a Laura fan, though, for the record.)

  2. She said dichotomies.hehe

  3. Am I the only one who sees an ethical issue with this - newspaper interviews its own publisher andgives her a soapbox? Wouldn't it have been better if she had written an op-ed instead? Or is the Tennessean further eroding the ethics that have been the backbone of journalism forever?
    I'd like to hear what media ethicists have to say on this. I'm also curious if any other Gannett sites have done such Q&As with their publishers and what the reader reaction was.

  4. Ha! Now here is a video I would actually watch and yet there is none.

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

  5. Was there a follow-up question to what she said, in the last paragraph, like, "how?"

    "How do you help the community grow, flourish and thrive, help those that live there live better lives?"

    I'm curious to hear Gannett leadership address that, and see how it's being fulfilled?

  6. This is a joke, right? Can she honestly say these things with a straight face?

  7. As a Tennessean employee stuck the mess she and the others have made my reaction is that I'm bored. Perhaps boldly.

    Meet the new boss...

  8. "I have often been asked questions about glass ceilings or challenges for women — I can’t speak to that. If that was there, I didn’t recognize that."


    Perhaps if she stopped blowing her own horn for 5 seconds, she might think about the women who came before her who COULD speak to glass ceilings and who cleared the way for her. That, Ms. Hollingsworth, is what you SHOULD recognize.

  9. Well said!!

  10. Self-serving propaganda designed to throw water on the community fires and slap the faces from Hudler to Moon.


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