KNOXVILLE - News Sentinel Publisher Bruce Hartmann is being promoted to a new national position where he will be in charge of advertising and circulation revenue for all of the E.W. Scripps Co.'s newspapers.
Hartmann, who has served as publisher since June 1998, will become corporate vice president for sales as part of a reorganization of the Scripps newspaper division announced today. The promotion is effective Sept. 1.
"When we looked around the company for the best-respected leader to lead our revenue efforts, Bruce was a clear choice," said Mark G. Contreras, the company's senior vice president of newspapers. "Knoxville has been one of our best-performing markets, both journalistically and from a business perspective, because of his leadership and courage. He is a longtime Scripps employee who has the respect of his peers and folks in the industry. I am very, very encouraged at the prospects of him leading our revenue efforts."
Under the reorganization, executives at Scripps' 13 daily newspapers will report directly to corporate vice presidents who will serve as an operating committee. All advertising and circulation sales directors will report to Hartmann, who will continue to be based in Knoxville, where he has lived since joining the News Sentinel as advertising director in 1990. Scripps' niche publications, including its magazines and weekly newspapers, also will report to him.
"I will always be grateful for all the support I have received over the years from my co-workers and our customers, both readers and advertisers," he said. "It is because of them that we have been able to make the News Sentinel and all of our products among the best within the E.W. Scripps Co.
"It is my great fortune to be able to remain in Knoxville as I undertake this new challenge. I am looking forward to working with all the different properties within our division to further facilitate our success."
Rusty Coats, who is now vice president of interactive for the newspaper division, will become vice president for content and marketing under the new structure. All Scripps editors, marketing leaders and interactive operational staff will report directly to him. He, too, will be based in Knoxville.
Coats has worked in interactive media for 15 years, first as a reporter covering technology, then leading Web sites for The McClatchy Company. The Newspaper Association of America named him Digital Innovator of the Year in 2005, and he now serves as co-chair of the Newspaper Consortium, which includes nearly 800 newspapers in partnership with Yahoo!
A new publisher will be appointed for the News Sentinel and the KNS Media Group. The newspaper's editor and advertising director will have a "dotted line" reporting relationship with the publisher.
Hartmann has been active for several years in Knoxville's civic affairs.
He serves on the board of directors of Friends of the Smokies, the Bijou Theatre and Variety, the children's charity. In 2006, he chaired Knoxville's United Way campaign, and he has served as president of the Knoxville Area Chamber Partnership.
As president of the Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation board, he led the $23.5 million campaign to restore the theater. The movie palace, which first opened in 1928, had its grand reopening Jan. 14, 2005.
Hartmann, 51, graduated in 1979 from West Virginia University with a degree in journalism. He held advertising management positions at the Nashua Telegraph in New Hampshire and The Baltimore Sun. He was with the Lowell Sun in Massachusetts before coming to Knoxville.
He and his wife, Tami, have three children: Melissa, Jacquelyn and Brian.
Coats, 43, graduated in 1988 from Indiana University with a degree in English and journalism. He worked as a journalist at the Evansville Courier in Indiana and The Modesto Bee in California before moving to online content management at The Sacramento Bee and then at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. Coats spent four years as director of new media for MORI Research in Minneapolis. He joined Scripps a year ago after working as vice president and general manager of TBO.com, the joint online business of the Tampa Tribune and television station WFLA.
He is married to Janet Coats, a vice president and executive editor at the Tampa Tribune, and is the father of Carly and Cassidy, and stepfather of Sam, Rachel and Luke.
The Scripps reorganization is designed to place "increased emphasis on community-changing local content and peak-performing advertising sales," according to a company press release. With those priorities, Knoxville will be an important hub for the Cincinnati-based company, with Hartmann directing sales and Coats directing content.
Knoxville has had an important role in Scripps in the past. When the company created Scripps Networks, it based the new division in the city. Last year, the networks were spun off as a separate company called Scripps Networks Interactive.
Commenting on the new structure of the newspaper division, Contreras said: "We're reorganizing our division to make sure all of our newspapers have a sharpened focus on delivering unrivaled local content across multiple platforms and developing the best sales organization in each of our markets. By making ourselves more valuable to our two most important constituencies - readers and advertisers - I believe we can continue our important public service mission while providing an economic benefit for our shareholders."
In addition to the appointments of Hartmann and Coats, Scripps named four other executives who will serve on the operating committee and direct major functions of the corporation nationally:
* Frank Wolfe, formerly of Knoxville, will become vice president of operations for the newspaper division and have all the newspapers' production and circulation operations report to him.
* Robin Davis, vice president of finance and administration, will have all finance leaders report to her.
* Jim York will become vice president of information technology and will have all IT leaders report to him.
* Mary Minser, vice president of human resources, will have all human resources managers report to her.
In another aspect of the reorganization, the company's daily newspapers will be categorized in one of two tiers. Newspapers in the division's six-largest markets - Memphis and Knoxville in Tennessee, Naples and Treasure Coast in Florida, Ventura, Calif., and Corpus Christi, Texas - will be considered "regional" media organizations. Starting Sept. 1, the publishers of the regional newspapers will serve on the operating committee and report directly to Contreras.
The division's newspapers in the remaining markets - Evansville, Ind., Anderson, S.C., Redding, Calif., Bremerton, Wash., and the Texas communities of Abilene, Wichita Falls and San Angelo - will be called "mid-sized" media organizations. The publishers in the mid-sized markets will take on the added responsibilities of the sales function and report to Hartmann.