Thursday, May 06, 2010

Hearst shuffles Beaumont publishers again

After just three years the soon-to-be-former Beaumont Enterprise publisher is moving on to an undisclosed 'other business opportunity'. The new man in charge is from the Houston Chronicle.

As part of a larger restructuring of Hearst newspapers in Texas, Bill Offill, executive vice president of sales and marketing at the Houston Chronicle, will succeed John E. Newhouse II as publisher of The Beaumont Enterprise. ...

As executive vice president, Offill has overseen the Chronicle's advertising sales, circulation and marketing divisions since 2004. He joined the Houston Chronicle in 1987 as an advertising sales account executive and later held key leadership positions, including advertising director and vice president of circulation.

Offill is one of the big winners in the mass shakeout the Chronicle itself experienced just over a year ago. His roots in circulation and advertising should provide some sorely needed expertise to the Enterprise, which continues to hemorrhage readership and, correspondingly, advertisers.

I've spent time in Beaumont recently working with some new clients and attended the Better Business Bureau's Torch Awards banquet just this past Tuesday evening. While all of the television stations and their on-air personalities were represented, along with a few radio stations, the newspaper was conspicuously absent -- no attendees, no sponsorships.

Heavy community involvement and activism was one of the hallmarks of the tenure of previous Enterprise publishers Aubrey Webb and George Irish (both of whom I once worked with; I have blogged here and here about that). I was more than surprised that there was nobody at an event of this profile. Even if the top man had plans to leave the paper, it seems odd that a business editor or reporter would not have attended or covered it. This link looks like a reprint of the press release.

Here's hoping the reorganization of the six Texas Hearst papers -- besides Houston and Beaumont, they include the Express-News in San Antonio, the Reporter-Telegram in Midland, the Daily Herald in Plainview, and the Morning Times in Laredo -- is a success.

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