Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lafayette, La. | Revisiting 'Chain Reaction' story

Amid word today that Leslie Hurst is assuming the publisher's job at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., I'm republishing the following post, which I originally wrote nearly two years ago, when she was the top executive of The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, La. Although the excellent "Chain Reaction" story was about Lafayette, it is a must-read for all Gannett watchers. Following is the post as it first appeared on Jan. 22, 2009:

In a heartbreaking story worth reading to the very last sentence, The Independent Weekly tells a harrowing tale about Gannett's stewardship of The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, La. The 143-year-old daily got swept up in the $1 billion Thomson Newspapers deal in mid-2000.

Writer Leslie Turk says in Chain Reaction: "Corporate newspaper giant Gannett has ransacked The Daily Advertiser, one of its most lucrative newspapers. And every penny of profit squeezed out of the daily has been wired straight to its Virginia headquarters.

"Lafayette is the poster child for this problem," the story says, "as Gannett has robbed this community to pay for its errors elsewhere. For centuries, locally owned papers had a different mission, but now the Advertiser's readers are being told they must pay for Gannett's mistakes and greed."

Publisher Leslie Hurst did not respond to the Weekly's calls or e-mail, the story says.


  1. Tale of the tape...

    Ft. Myers

    All in the last 14 years. That's a lot of curtain money.

  2. You can get copies of "Chain Gang" on Amazon. Tells the same story in Wisconsin.

  3. Gannett's greed is its ultimate downfall. It's simply amazing that the company is unable to adjust to the "new reality" of competition and lower profit margins.

    It seems that corporate is intent in directing every available dollar into the top exec's pay checks, bonuses and retirement accounts. It's like they're all loading up because they don't expect to be there long.

    Gannett, a company of a few voices chanting "Let the readers and the workers be damned."

  4. You could at least spell the name of the town right in the title. It's Lafayette.

  5. 3:39 You left off her first two newspapers -- the Shreveport Times and the Pensacola News Journal. Her first publisher job was Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

  6. 9:59 sorry about that; it's now fixed.

  7. Actually, it was the Shreveport Journal.


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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