William 'Skip' Hidlay Named Publisher of The Wichita Eagle
The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI) today named veteran journalist and executive William "Skip" Hidlay as president and publisher of The Wichita Eagle in Kansas.
Hidlay arrives from the Gannett Co., Inc., where he has been president and publisher of two central New Jersey newspapers, the Courier News and the Home News Tribune, since April 2008. From 2002 to 2008, he was the executive editor and vice president for news at the Asbury Park Press, a Gannett-owned newspaper on the New Jersey shoreline. From 1996 to 2002, Hidlay worked as the managing editor and, later, executive editor of Gannetts Courier-Post newspaper in Cherry Hill, N.J. In 2009, he served as a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes.
Hidlay, 51, begins work at The Wichita Eagle on March 15. He replaces Pam Siddall, who left the newspaper in January.
"We're extremely pleased to welcome Skip to McClatchy and appoint him to this important post in Wichita," said Gary Pruitt, McClatchy's chairman and chief executive officer. "Skip is a dynamic, innovative leader. He has embraced the technological and cultural changes sweeping the newspaper industry without sacrificing his passion for and commitment to public service journalism."
Prior to joining Gannett in 1996, Hidlay spent 10 years working for The Associated Press in a variety of reporting, editing and management assignments.
Hidlay was born and raised in Bloomsburg, Pa., a town of 13,000 in northeastern Pennsylvania. After graduating from Syracuse University in New York, he began his career in 1980 as a reporter for his hometown daily newspaper, the family-owned Press-Enterprise. He later worked as a reporter for two North Carolina newspapers, The Fayetteville Observer-Times and The Charlotte Observer, before joining The Associated Press in 1986.
"Skip is a journalist at heart who believes in strong storytelling, watchdog reporting and the newspaper's role as a community leader," said Bob Weil, McClatchy vice president, operations, who oversees McClatchy's newspapers in the Midwest. "He certainly is a great fit to carry on those values and traditions, which are hallmarks of The Wichita Eagle."
In his most recent position as publisher of both the Courier News and the Home News Tribune, Hidlay consolidated the previously separate newspapers into one operating unit, streamlining management, reducing expenses and improving profitability. Under Hidlay's leadership, the newspapers expanded their local news reports, strengthened their online presence and engaged in a yearlong community outreach effort to explain the changes and the company's multimedia transformation to community leaders and readers.
As an executive editor, Hidlay was a two-time winner of Gannett's President's Ring, which is awarded annually to the top 10 performing executive editors within the company.
"The Wichita Eagle is a great newspaper with a tradition of journalistic excellence," Hidlay said. "I am honored to have the opportunity to help build on that tradition and to serve the Eagle's readers, customers and employees.
"My family and I are also excited about getting to know the people of Wichita and Kansas and becoming involved in the region's civic life," he said.
Hidlay and his wife, Valerie, have five children: Will, 29; Travis, 26; Greg, 22; Nick, 19; and Paige, 13.
The McClatchy Company is the third largest newspaper publisher in the United States, with 30 daily newspapers, 43 non-dailies, and direct marketing and direct mail operations. McClatchy also operates leading local websites in each of its markets which extend its audience reach. The websites offer users comprehensive news and information, advertising, e-commerce and other services. Together with its newspapers and direct marketing products, these interactive operations make McClatchy the leading local media company in each of its premium high growth markets. McClatchy-owned newspapers include The Miami Herald, The Sacramento Bee, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Kansas City Star, The Charlotte Observer, and The News & Observer (Raleigh).
McClatchy also owns a portfolio of premium digital assets, including 14.4% of CareerBuilder, the nation's largest online job site, 25.6% of Classified Ventures, a newspaper industry partnership that offers two of the nation's premier classified websites: the auto website, cars.com, and the rental site, Apartments.com, and 33.3% of HomeFinder, LLC which operates the real estate website HomeFinder.com. McClatchy is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol MNI.