Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Craig Moon made a big difference at Tennessean; he's why USA Today continues to prosper

A lot of criticism has been aimed at the fact that the 10% cuts coming for Gannett newspapers -- including The Tennessean -- do not include USA Today.

That newspaper's circulation numbers are up compared to other Gannett newspapers. And a primary reason why is publisher Craig Moon, who used to be publisher at The Tennessean.

It was my privilege to work with Moon during his tenure at The Tennessean. I found him to be honest and a man of integrity. He was actually a better journalist interested in what readers wanted than the people in charge of The Tennessean newsroom. He is the one who created the then very popular Williamson A.M. edition. It made big profits while also pleasing readers. Great formula.

While newsroom decision makers denied me a chance to write a political column for the newspaper, Moon readily opened the way. So I am indebted to him for allowing me -- an American of Hispanic descent -- to pursue my dreams. When he left The Tennessean for greener pastures, the paper's future was doomed.

But not USA Today's. Our loss was their great gain. And Moon was the difference.

Craig now sits on the operating committee for Gannett. If there is hope for the company to turn fortunes around in an environment affecting all newspapers regardless of public or private ownership, then Moon will make the difference there, too.

Men of integrity, competency and honesty always prevail.

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