VC Star publisher stepping down

*Update Saturday, Aug. 25, 2007 — A bylined story published Saturday in The Star rehashed Friday's Web site announcement with a couple quotes from outside the company and a bit of information about The Star's recent experience with budget cuts: "The Star has had its own challenges, providing voluntary buy-outs to nine employees and outsourcing its advertising artists. The company has struggled with drops in classified advertising revenue that mirror what is going on in the industry."

Ventura County Star Publisher Tim Gallagher, 51, who shepherded the 100,000-circulation newspaper through a complex series of transitions during the past 12 1/2 years (while also fighting — and winning — a sometimes-bitter battle for readers against the Los Angeles Times), is stepping down to "pursue other business opportunities" in media and management consulting, according to a story posted today (Friday, Aug. 24, 2007) on the Star's Web site.

The story didn't state directly whether Gallagher has already stepped down, or if he will do so at a later date. It said Gallagher's new business interests will not compete with the interests of the Star's corporate parent, The E.W. Scripps Co., and that he will continue to be employed on "special assignment" as an assistant to the president of Scripps Howard Publishing.

Gallagher has worked for Scripps since he was 19 years old. (DISCLOSURE: He also hired yours truly twice, first at The Albuquerque Tribune in 1994, and again at the Ventura County Star in 1996).

Gallagher arrived in Ventura as the newspaper's editor-in-chief in January 1995, less than a year after a reporter on his staff at The Albuquerque Tribune (Eileen Welsome, author of The Plutonium Files) won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. Gallagher was editor-in-chief of The Tribune at the time Welsome was awarded the Pulitzer. Both the VC Star and ABQ Tribune are owned by The E.W. Scripps Co.

During Gallagher's tenure as editor in Ventura, he oversaw the combination of several independent newsrooms into a single six-edition newspaper. As publisher, a role he assumed in 2004 after serving four years as "editor and president," he oversaw the recent move of the paper's headquarters from Ventura to Camarillo, sited beside the printing facility the paper built there in 1998 (Ok, it's behind the Camarillo Premium Outlets, so wish those poor reporters and editors well come the parking crunch of the Christmas shopping season).

The Star's story said Gallagher will locate his consulting business in Ventura County and "intends to consult with companies doing strategic growth planning, media relations, and internet [sic] business strategies."

A few paragraphs from the story (posted Friday) after the jump.

From the Ventura County Star's story:

The E.W. Scripps Co. and Ventura County Star Publisher Tim Gallagher today jointly announced a new role for Gallagher in the company that also allows him to pursue other business opportunities.

Gallagher will continue to be an employee of Scripps who will work on special assignment as an assistant to Scripps Howard Publishing President Mark Contreras. He will step down as publisher of the Star and begin his own business consulting in the areas of media and management that do not compete with the Star.

[Snip ...]

Contreras said an internal and external search for Gallagher’s replacement will begin immediately.

Gallagher will work on assignments for Contreras, which will allow him to open a consulting business here in Ventura County.

[Snip ...]

Gallagher, 51, began his career with Scripps as a 19-year-old intern at The Albuquerque Tribune. Upon his graduation from the University of New Mexico with degrees in journalism and English in 1978, he joined The Tribune as a reporter. Over the next eight years he rose through the management ranks at The Tribune and the company’s El Paso Herald-Post until he returned to The Albuquerque Tribune in 1986 where he became, at age 30, one of the youngest editors in the country.

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