Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Craig Moon retiring on top at USA Today; he will return to Nashville to explore new ventures

One of the last good guys in the newspaper industry is retiring. Former Tennessean publisher Craig Moon will return to Nashville after April 17, following his six years of leading USA today and maintaining its circulation.

It was pleasure to work for Moon during my tenure at The Tennessean. And unlike publishers today, he put the readers first, making investments in new reporters for new beats before considering the bottom line. He remains a man of integrity who demands the best from his people, not excuses.

Moon had discovered the secret to running a good newspaper or any other business, give the customers what they want and they will give you what you need --- credibility, trust and profits.

He proved that with his creation of Williamson A.M., which continues to be the most successful part of The Tennessean.

Moon said he will spend more time with his family here and explore business ventures with his partners. Let's pray that he looks at the disarray of the print business in Middle Tennessee and comes up with a hybrid to dominate the market and put the lesser publications out of business.

Here is the press release on his departure:

MCLEAN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Craig Moon, president and publisher of USA TODAY, today said he plans to retire on April 17 after more than 23 years at Gannett. Moon also supervises USA WEEKEND, the Detroit Media Partnership, Gannett Offset and the Military Times operation.

“Craig has been a steady hand, a defender of strong journalism and a true champion of the USA TODAY brand in his six years as president and publisher of our flagship newspaper,” said Craig Dubow, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI - News). “He has combined his love of the newspaper business with a grasp of the digital future in ways that benefited not only USA TODAY but also the entire company. We will miss his counsel and his expertise.”

“While the challenging media environment has been difficult for this industry and its people, it also has created new opportunities which I plan to explore with partners,” Moon said.

"I will carry forward a multitude of memories and life experiences I would not have otherwise benefited from without my association with all the dedicated employees and the incredible USA TODAY brand," he added. He plans to return full time to the Nashville, TN area to spend more time with his family as he explores these new businesses.

Moon was named president and publisher of USA TODAY in 2003. At the time, he was executive vice president of the Newspaper Division, now U.S. Community Publishing. From 1991 until 2002, Moon was president and publisher of The Tennessean in Nashville. He also was president of the Piedmont Newspaper Group of Gannett.

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