Sunday, January 18, 2009

Editors and Publishers in a Revolving Door

Ken Paulson will step down as editor of USA Today in February.

The New York Times - USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Baltimore Sun, The San Jose Mercury News and The Kansas City Star have something in common, aside from some of the biggest names in an endangered industry.

By the start of February, not one of them will have the same top editor it had when 2008 began. Most of them will have different publishers, too.

Go back just three years, and the list of newspapers that have changed editors includes The Daily News of New York, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Miami Herald, The Star Tribune of Minneapolis, the Chicago Sun-Times, The Plain Dealer of Cleveland and The Sacramento Bee.

Each paper has its own story, and some would have changed leaders even in the most placid times. But upheaval in a business that is battling for survival has drastically shortened the shelf lives of editors and publishers at major papers, whether they leave voluntarily or are forced out. All have had to navigate waves of ownership changes, cutbacks, experimentation or all three.

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