Sentinel’s Bruce Hartmann promoted as Scripps restructures newspaper division

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, 51, will become corporate vice president for sales as part of a reorganization of the Scripps newspaper division, it was announced Tuesday. He has served as publisher of the News Sentinel since June 1998. The promotion is effective Sept. 1.

Under the reorganization, executives at Scripps’ 13 daily newspapers will report directly to corporate vice presidents who will serve as an operating committee. Scripps’ niche publications, including Blount Today and other weekly newspapers and magazines, will report to Hartmann. Also, 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.

“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.”

“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,” Hartmann 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.”

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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