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Chris White tapped to lead Wisconsin State Journal; Lee executive to be 16th publisher in 181-year history

Chris White tapped to lead Wisconsin State Journal; Lee executive to be 16th publisher in 181-year history

Chris White

Chris White has been named publisher of the Wisconsin State Journal by Lee Enterprises. White joined Lee in 2013.

Lee Enterprises has named company executive Chris White the Wisconsin State Journal’s next publisher.

White, who currently oversees a group of Lee newspapers in Illinois, Indiana, New York and Wisconsin, including the State Journal, took over Thursday for Tom Wiley, who was named publisher of The Buffalo (New York) News.

White will be the 16th chief executive to lead the 181-year-old State Journal.

He said he looks forward to continuing the paper’s commitment to serving local communities through “outstanding journalism and creative engagement with our readers and advertisers.”

Acknowledging the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown have created for the local news industry, White said the company is positioned to emerge from the crisis stronger than it entered.

“It’s a transformational time,” he said. “What we’ve just gone through has proven the importance of local news.”

While continuing to provide local news coverage and a platform for advertisers, White said Lee is pivoting to become a full-service marketing agency, helping clients reach customers through all media, including print, online, social media, broadcast and even billboards by using data and analytics to inform decisions.

“Over the past few years, we’ve quietly been building a full-service agency.” he said. “We expect to see that part of our business move to the forefront as the economy begins to recover.”

White will continue in his current role as publisher of The Times Media Company, which publishes The Times of Northwest Indiana, the state’s second-largest newspaper.

He plans to split his time between Madison and Munster, Indiana, where he chairs the Lake Area United Way and serves on the board of the local Salvation Army.

“I want to be a part and give back to the community I live in and work in and get engaged in Madison like I have in Northwest Indiana,” White said.

White, 53, grew up in Oklahoma and began his career at the Ada Evening News, his hometown paper. He served as publisher of The Repository in Canton, Ohio, and group publisher for GateHouse-Ohio Media and as regional vice president of sales for Community Newspaper Holdings and publisher of The Edmond Sun and McAlester News-Capital.

He joined Lee in 2013 as publisher of Times Media Company and was named a Lee group publisher in 2015. Lee operates 77 daily newspapers in 26 states.

Lee is half-owner of Capital Newspapers, which publishes the Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times.

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