Salem’s Priester named Lansing State publisher

Brian Priester created a stir last fall when he publicly dressed down his own newsroom for failing to cover a Christian music festival while he was publisher of the Statesman Journal in Salem, Ore. Priester, 44, was appointed to the top job at the Lansing State Journal yesterday; he replaces Richard Ramhoff, who was named publisher of The Desert Sun in Palm Springs as part of Gannett’s big newspaper division reorganization.

Priester had been publisher at Salem only since February 2007; that seems like an unusually short tenure. His move to Lansing, of course, creates an opening in Salem for a new top executive.

Quote-O-Matic Alert!
From the press release announcing Priester’s promotion, a classic almost-sounds-believable quote, courtesy of chief company flack Tara Connell; this one is attributed to newspaper division President Bob Dickey: “Brian’s rich background in marketing and circulation will be strong assets as he moves to Lansing. We have no doubt that Brian will be a fantastic leader and excellent new addition to the Lansing State Journal.”

Related: the State Journal‘s story about Priester’s appointment

Earlier: Lansing sorry about that state worker database

Salem staffers: What can you tell Lansing about Priester? Post your reply in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, use this link from a non-work computer; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

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8 Responses to “Salem’s Priester named Lansing State publisher”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Priester is a dope who at best was an ok market development person at a small to medium size paper. What they (SCJ and now her boy Dickey) ever saw in him makes you wonder. Not his fault though…I’m sure he’s thrilled to get such great jobs. Just another example of just how WEAK the ranks are. Guys like him in the past could only hope to win their upteenth presidents ring to appease them…now they get grown up jobs thanks to a decade of GLW and SCJ’s who just kept blowing talent out the door…it’s only going to get worse. When can anyone remember so many key jobs open with no immediate announcements to fill the slot? Also, why does GCI keep moving around the shells they have instead of trying to find new talent from outside?? I’m afraid the answer is who in their right mind would give up what they have to go work for a company with a trigger finger….lastly, I wonder how Kranz is doing with her “strategy” for the company??

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Sorry, Brian is a great guy. He treats people with respect and appreciates their ideas. You obviously don’t know him very well or you are jealous of his success and your lack of!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Attention, Lansing … don’t count on this blog for ANY objective facts or opinions about your new boss.

    Here is a thought: Meet the man and form your own opinions. What a novel idea for journalists.

    Never let the facts stand in the way of a story. That’s this blog’s motto.

    And so it goes …

  4. Anonymous Says:

    How deep.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Anon 9:21 PM
    Did this guy or did he not dress down the staff for the lack of festival coverage? Sorry, but that would tell me a lot more about his style, expectations and news focus than would a face-to-face encounter. I tend to pay attention to actions, not words. He could be the nicest person in the world, and still be a lousy leader.
    I sure hope he’s both competent and nice.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I left the newspaper before Priester arrived, but I can tell you that my former co-workers were not sorry to hear that he was leaving. The public dressing-down of the newsroom regarding coverage of the music festival long ago convinced the journos there that Priester had no idea how to run a newspaper. On the positive side, Priester leaving has raised morale from mind-staggering low to painfully low.

  7. Jim Hopkins Says:

    A reader e-mailed me the following:

    Several of my co-workers at the Statesman Journal also are devoted readers of your blog. Thanks for providing an outlet to share our experiences. As soon as I saw the posting about Brian Priester, I had to respond. I hope this doesn’t sound too gloomy, but he really rubbed a lot of people the wrong way in Salem.

    I hope for your sake Lansing that Priester has learned from his time at the Statesman Journal.

    He tried to inject himself into news decisions, which was disturbing, as his experience in the newsroom was clearly limited. And his little tirade in print last fall didn’t endear him to the newsroom. After he saw the music festival was on 2A and not Page One, he wanted the executive editor to name the people responsible. To the E.E.’s credit, he refused.

    Priester did half-heartedly apologize to a mostly empty newsroom after the story was posted on just about every journalism blog around.

    He was waiting for this move. We found out he was gone after he was in Lansing! Priester was looking to move back to the Midwest as soon as he arrived. His house was for sale soon after he bought it. Hopefully, although I’m not counting on it, Gannett brings someone to Salem that wants to be here. Almost anyone would be an improvement over him.

    He will leave a lasting impression, though. Priester reduced communication between departments (or maybe he just wanted to keep news out of the loop) and moved up deadlines (10:30 p.m. on Tuesdays from midnight, and 10 p.m. on Saturdays from 11 p.m.). Maybe I’m being too harsh about him reducing communication. He did e-mail a weekly update about advertising success stories and scattered thoughts.

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