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.
1852: First edition of the Wisconsin Daily Journal
1859: Pinckney St.
1881: State Journal office on East Washington Ave. with David Atwood
Atwood first editor
1890s: Wisconsin State Journal offices
1895-1900: State Journal staff
1924: State Journal staff
Celebrating new home, 1926
Celebrating new offices, 1926
Facts about the press, 1926
'World famous authors and artists' work here
Photographer Art Vinje, 1926
Paper delivery, 1939
City staff, 1949
Editorial staff, 1947
AP photo machine, 1949
Madison Newspapers Inc., 1949
Roundy Coughlin, 1949
Switchboard operators, 1952
Press crew, 1952
1960s: Newspaper carrier
Conference for correspondents, 1961
Newsroom on election night, 1964
1969: Newsroom staff with 20+ years experience
1974: State Journal staff
1974: New offices being built
1975: South Carroll Street newsroom
1975: New offices on Fish Hatchery Road
1980: State Journal staff photo
1981: State Journal copy desk
1989: Newsroom staff
1994: Staff Christmas photo
1998: Staff photo
2011: Staff photo
2012: Pultizer breaking news finalist
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