Interesting 24 hours at Tribune

After the markets closed, Tribune Co. announced that Jack Fuller will retire as head of the publishing group at the end of the year. He had a newspaper editorial background and was instrumental in smoothing the Trib's takeover of Times Mirror in 2000 and the hiring of John Carroll as editor of the Times. He'll be replaced by Scott Smith, publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The troubled company's third quarter financials come out tomorrow. And last night, Trib editors scrambled to pull today's "WomanNews" section because of a cover story that discussed (without ever mentioning it) the use of the c-word for female genitalia. Lower editors had OK'd the story, headlined You c_nt say that, but apparently senior editors went bananas when they saw the subject matter. The section was pulled from most copies of the paper. Romenesko has links to stories in the Wall Street Journal and Crain's, and the Tribune's note to readers.

The Fuller announcement follows:

From: FitzSimons, Dennis J.

Sent: Wednesday, October 27, 2004 2:55 PM

Subject: Tribune Publishing appointments

Dear Fellow Employee,

This afternoon we announced that Jack Fuller plans to retire from Tribune at the end of the year. We also announced that Scott Smith will become chief operating officer of Tribune Publishing, and David Hiller will succeed Scott as Chicago Tribune president and publisher. Both appointments are effective Nov. 1. Scott will replace Jack on Jan. 1, 2005.

Jack will leave his post as president of the publishing group on Dec. 31, and also step down from the Tribune board of directors at that time. His career here spanned more than 30 years, and he has always been a strong voice for our commitment to journalistic excellence. Jack's own extraordinary journalism career gave him a unique rapport with our newspaper staffs, and his guidance benefited Tribune's publishing operations in many ways.

While Jack will be missed, I'm confident that Scott is well prepared to lead our growing publishing group. He has served as president and publisher of the Chicago Tribune since 1997, and held the same titles at Sun-Sentinel Company from 1993 to 1997. Prior to that Scott was responsible for Tribune Company strategic planning, acquisitions and new venture investments from 1991 to 1993. He was the company's chief financial officer from 1985 to 1991.

Likewise, David is a great fit for the Chicago Tribune. He has been senior vice president of Tribune Publishing since early 2003, overseeing The Baltimore Sun, Hartford Courant, Tribune Media Services and other operations. David was president of Tribune Interactive from 2000 until March 2004, and Tribune senior vice president/development from 1993 to 2000. He joined the company in 1988 as vice president/general counsel, serving in that role until 1993.

Please join me in wishing Scott and David success in their new roles. Our ability to make this very smooth transition underscores the depth of our management team and the importance of our succession planning process.

Tomorrow morning we will release Tribune's third quarter financial results. Details will be posted on our website,

With two months remaining in 2004, let's do everything we can to finish strong!


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