The CEO of Stephens Media, owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “stepped down” today to be replaced by a former Denver publisher.
“Stepped down” is the wording used when former CEO and publisher Sherman Frederick was replaced by Mike Ferguson as CEO and Bob Brown as publisher about a week after Harry Reid was re-elected in 2010. Frederick stayed on as a consultant, weekly columnist and nearly its sole remaining blogger.
That was the same day it was reported that I “would be stepping down” from editor to senior opinion editor, which lasted about six months. Several other top newspaper executives “stepped down” that day, too.
Mike Hengel, who had worked with Ferguson at another paper, was named editor. I wonder if he hears footsteps tonight.
The R-J is reporting that Ed Moss, formerly CEO and president of the Denver Post will replace Ferguson. Moss left the Post in March after only a year at the paper, reportedly to recuperate from injuries in a fall. Previously, he was publisher of the San Diego Union-Tribune and other California papers. He also was publisher at papers in Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana
Warren Stephens, chairman of the board of Stephens Media, made the announcement, as he did when Frederick “stepped down.”
In 2009, when Moss left the Los Angeles Daily News to become publisher in San Diego, Ron Kaye, the former editor of the Daily News, penned a scathing blog about Moss, saying among other less than flattering things:
“Sending Moss to fix a struggling paper is like sending a mortician to treat an ailing patient. He will do the only thing he knows how to do: Cut, and cut, and cut some more: When he’s done with his handiwork, the U-T will be ready for embalming and burial much like the Daily News is
“Moss arrived at the Daily News nearly two years ago when it still had fight in it and immediately was dubbed “Little Napoleon” for his short stature, imperious manner and inability to engage in any kind of intelligent discussion of strategies that might save the paper.
“He’s a man who speaks in vapid cliches and offers no leadership.”
Kaye said Moss seldom entered the newsroom.
The R-J announcement also mentioned the letter of intent that had been signed by Ferguson and Paul Hamilton, president of the Las Vegas Sun and the Greenspun Corp., to dissolve the joint operating agreement under which the R-J prints and distributes the Sun as a section in the paper. “Both parties have said they expect the dissolution agreement to be finalized by the end of the year,” the story said, without mentioning Brian Greenspun’s futile efforts to derail the agreement in court, even though it was agreed to by his three siblings.
The newspaper’s circulation has been eroding, its website is a jumbled mess and search engine optimization is nonexistent — the paper’s stories are the last to be returned, if at all, in a keyword search.
Can’t say I’m surprised by the turn of events. Keep your heads down, R-J staffers. If Kaye is right, the bleeding will continue.