Monday, June 15, 2009

New Gannett Blog IRE Challenge set for Friday

Chairman and CEO Craig Dubow's tenure, ending at least briefly with his medical leave of absence, has been punctuated by the launch of Gannett Blog -- now one of the industry's mostly widely read newspaper-focused sites. It drew more than 25,000 unique visitors during the past 30 days, industry tracker Google Analytics says. Since I began publishing the site in September 2007, the blog has recorded 1.8 million visits and 3.8 million page views.

Now, as I prepare to shutter this blog July 10 and launch a new social network for gay business executives, I'm taking on another new assignment.

I have agreed to volunteer as a fundraiser for Investigative Reporters and Editors, a leading professional trade association now in the midst of a campaign seeking to qualify for a $50,000 challenge grant from the Knight Foundation and other funders. Under the new Gannett Blog IRE Challenge, we're scheduled to disclose details of the new campaign's financial goal on June 19 -- this Friday.

Showdown with Dubow, and a bodyguard
Gannett Blog's history was marked by a dramatic confrontation between Dubow and me at the annual shareholders meeting in April, before the company's board of directors and more than 300 onlookers at company headquarters in suburban Washington's McLean, Va.

Appearing as a shareholder, I forced Dubow to account for $40,000 in Gannett Foundation charitable money that he steered to a private scholarship fund at Western Carolina University near his weekend home in North Carolina. (In a controversial move, I hired a bodyguard under a $2,000 contract with Kroll Associates after anonymous posters suggested they were stalking me in Washington and in San Francisco, where I live most of the year.)

On May 26, I announced plans to stop active management of this blog. In an agreement with the publisher of, I will direct all traffic to that site soon after an expected July layoff. I'm now focusing on a new international gay network for executives: Ibiza Confidential. It's named for a Mediterranean island off the Spanish coast, a popular summer resort among wealthy Europeans. The site is now in beta mode; a formal launch is expected by January 2010.

Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green rail, upper right.

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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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