Barbara Henry retiring

Dateline: Fri 27 Jun 2008

Henry always has been regarded as one of Gannett's stars. The fact that she never graduated to a USA Today job, and that she is essentially taking an early retirement, is an indication of how badly it's going for Gannett.

Next question: since Henry brought in Dennis Ryerson as her pet exec editor, will he be following her out the door?

"Barbara A Henry/INI

06/27/2008 01:16 PM


Messages to INI



Announcement and thanks

To: Indianapolis Star employees

From: Barbara Henry

"Dear Colleagues,

"After 34 years in the newspaper business, I have decided to retire on Aug. 1. I have loved every minute (well, mostly every minute!!) of those three-plus decades. The last eight years in Indianapolis have been especially gratifying. Because of your commitment, innovation and hard work, we accomplished so much, and continue to do so. Even as our industry goes through a major transformation and we operate in a very challenging economy, The Star has continued to grow our audience. Star employees showed what can be done despite these challenges by not letting any obstacles get in the way of progress. Just a few examples:

"We increased readership of our printed newspaper by making it more local, more colorful (with the help of a $72 million investment by Gannett in presses!!) and more engaging. As a former reporter and editor, I am very proud of the excellent work our newsroom has done to make a difference and, at the same time, allow our readership to grow. The Star's reports

on child abuse and neglect, Indiana's economy, how tax money is spent (or misspent), Indiana's broken property tax system -- to name just a few -- have resulted in positive changes for our community and state. When I hear some say newspapers are a media dinosaur, I know they are wrong. The Star has proved that by providing make-a-difference journalism, informed

and agenda-setting editorial pages, countless stories about local people and trends and top-notch sports reporting and commentary in this sports-crazed town.

"'s reach is phenomenal. We developed into the No. 1 website in audience penetration in the Gannett Co. has long been (and always will be) the No. 1 media website in Indiana with 45 million pageviews a month and 2.3 million unique visitors. These amazing statistics didn't just happen. The Star has been a leader in digital

innovation -- with deep local content and searchable databases that draw people in (like looking up their new property taxes with the click of a mouse and seeing why the police car is at a neighbor's house in real time!)

"It was The Star that started the moms revolution, with the introduction of We were so successful that Gannett is making this a national business -- starting up dozens more sites, with plans for even more, The Wall Street Journal wrote about this last week. Our zoned community newspapers in Carmel, Fishers, Zionsville, Westfield, Hendricks County, Noblesville, North Indy, East Indy, Greenwood and South Indy have allowed a large metro paper to continue to serve our readers who

crave intensely local news about their communities. They are a big reason for our growing readership.

"The Star added magazines to our product line: Carmel Magazine, Fishers-Geist Magazine, Hendricks County Magazine and magazine. All have allowed us to increase our reach in these fast-growing suburbs and among very busy women with children.We introduced ShopLocal, a mailed, total market coverage advertising product that allows our advertisers to reach every household in our market using The Star and ShopLocal. They also can reach every household in a specific zip code.

"We introduced INtake -- now, the magazine -- four years ago and it was an enviable success right out of the gate. Our entertainment website,, came last year -- again, another success.

"I could list many more, as you know. A statistic that all of you should be especially proud of -- because you made it happen -- is that Indianapolis Star Media Group products reach 82% of adults in the 8-county metro area 5.2 times every week. In just 18 months, we grew our reach by almost 10%. That is an incredible success story, created by employees who decided what we needed to do to grow and prosper, and just did it. You should all be very proud. I am proud of you.

"Thanks for all you have done. I have gotten to know many of you well and will always cherish the many memories, good times and great laughs we had during these past eight years. I will be in the job for another month, and look forward to personally thanking you during the next four weeks.


P.S. My successor will be named in the next couple of weeks."

UPDATE: Click on Jim Hopkins gannetblog to get the scoop on the company's push towards oblivion. Also, Hopkins just now reported that Denise Ivey is stepping down as publisher in Louisville. This may be a massive purge.

Here is what Hopkins said about the stock plunge Thursday:

"As GCI's market cap crumbles, the company grows more vulnerable to bottom-feeding investors, who'd like to see it broken up into pieces that could, in sum, be more valuable than the enterprise as a whole. I'm not smart enough to calculate the value of Gannett's hard assets. But I wonder when the company's real estate alone would become much of its worth. It's no wonder people are speculating that GCI is considering subleasing more space at its headquarters in McLean, Va.

GCI's decline yesterday was the worst among my group of major publishers. What's more, although stocks in many industries have gotten clobbered by banking industry and other worries, Gannett's decline has been far, far worse: In the past month alone, GCI shares have tumbled nearly 25%, while the broader S&P-500 Index has dropped a much smaller 6.7%, Google Finance says."

To keep tracking developments, keep your eye on:


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