Thursday, December 09, 2010

Jackson, Miss. | Former ME Hudson lands new job; minority editor's GCI layoff had surprised industry

The high-profile former managing editor of The Clarion-Ledger has been named the top editor of Alabama's Decatur Daily, just a month after he lost his job in a big round of layoffs that left many Gannett watchers stunned. Don Hudson, 49, will replace Executive Editor Tom Wright, who is retiring after 31 years.

Hudson was one of only nine African-American MEs at U.S. newspapers when GCI's Jackson, Miss., paper laid him off as it eliminated 15 jobs during a November round of layoffs across the company's U.S. dailies.

In that round, GCI also laid off another African-American ME: Rod Richardson at The Times of Shreveport, La. MEs are typically a newsroom's No. 2 executive, so have considerable influence over a paper's news coverage.

Gannett's cutting loose Hudson and Richardson was a surprise, because the company under CEO Craig Dubow has said GCI's leadership and diversity initiatives may be "the most critical step" in the company's restructuring.

Hudson had been the No. 2 news executive at the Pulitzer Prize-winning Jackson newspaper for nearly eight years. When he lost his job, Hudson told Richard Prince at The Maynard Institute that GCI had "worked extremely hard to try to find a spot for me," he said, but without success.

The Decatur paper's circulation is much smaller than Jackson's: 19,528 Monday through Saturday, and 23,860 on Sunday. Jackson's is 62,018 Monday through Friday; 64,795 on Saturday, and 76,397 on Sunday.

I do not know Richardson's current job status; please let us know.

[Photo: Decatur Daily]


  1. This is really great news for journalism. Don is one of the best there is, and I'm so relieved to hear he's still going to be out there making sure the truth is told.

  2. After the last EE left our local Gannett paper, someone was named ME for that paper and another one nearby. Now he is general manager of those two papers. What do these titles mean in real life?

  3. Decatur just got an awesome editor, manager and mentor. Don was wonderful, and the fact that he was let go by GCI shows the kind of judgment at work here. He's missed in Jackson

  4. Great hire for Decatur! Having worked with Don Gannett face palms again.

  5. Who in Gannett land approved Don to participate in the Gannett Leadership Program in Denver a few months ago and turn aroung and terminated him. What a waste of money. Seems like we have a lot of Gannett managers saving their own jobs. I said managers certainly not leaders. Wake up Board of Directors.

  6. Here's the thing. On one hand, people complain about too much management. Now, when the company slices another layer of management, there are complaints. Can't have it both ways. MEs are outdated, something from the past. What is the need for them if you have Editor and Editors and Editors?

  7. Rod was and is a great guy and an inspiring leader. I am sure he will find a good gig out there. What a loss for Shreveport and the chain.


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