All in the family? Neuharth reveals son’s new book

Like rubbernecking past a car wreck, I can’t resist octogenarian retired CEO Al Neuharth‘s weekly column, every Friday in USA Today.

Our man-with-the-tan disclosed a couple surprising tidbits in this week’s column, when he wrote about filling in for his temporarily ailing son at a newspaper conference in Denver. We learn that Dan Neuharth is writing a book about the industry, one based on more than 40 interviews with newspaper CEOs. Now, I wonder if Dan will offer the same candid treatment he gave in a USA Today op-ed piece he wrote in 2006. In that essay, Dan questioned his father’s legacy on the pages of the very paper that made Neuharth pere so famous.

Big Al also writes that he spoke at the conference with Walter Hussman, publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock — asking Hussman how he succeeded in boosting his daily’s circulation 4%, to 182,202, over the past decade, even as other papers suffered declines. Of course, Neuharth fails to mention another more important measure of Hussman’s success: He ran Gannett out of town in 1991, after GCI closed The Arkansas Gazette just five years after Neuharth bought the daily in the twilight of his career. Gannett was by then losing up to $30 million a year in that newspaper war.

And speaking of tans . . .
I should now be basking in the glory of winning the Hawaiian Tropic George Hamilton-Christina Aguilera Grand Prix du Festival Cup. As you know, that hotly contested trophy was awarded on Labor Day to the winner of the newly revived Gerald R. Ford Pro-Am Summer Biathlon International Tanning Competition. I was, after all, the odds-on favorite, given my choice tanning spot on the Mediterrean island of Ibiza.

But, no! In an 11th-hour switch, crafty Neuharth arranged for the original panel of judges to be replaced with his crony-packed Freedom Forum board of trustees! My riposte: See you in Brazil this winter, Al, because that’s the next stop for Sparky and yours truly, in our Endless Summer of 2008-09!

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2 Responses to “All in the family? Neuharth reveals son’s new book”

  1. Jim Hopkins Says:

    Fun facts to know, but not to write about in detail: I had lunch with Dan shortly after he wrote that USA Today Op-Ed piece. It was very interesting — but, I feel, very off the record!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    With that big job at Freedom Forum, being “Daddy” to all those children, writing the weekly piece and maintaining the tan, it’s a wonder he found time to fill in for the son! What a man. What an important man.

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