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Gannett Announces Winners of the ‘Unsung Heroes’ Awards

McLEAN, VA – Winners of Gannett’s 21st annual “Unsung Heroes” awards were announced today by Craig A. Dubow, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI). They are:

* Roy Ghee, distribution manager/operations, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, MS: Roy enjoys tremendous respect from his employees while operating his department, year-after-year, with optimal productivity. For example, even with complicated statewide distribution demands, the newspaper reported an on-time performance streak of 72 consecutive days with no late trucks. Roy also routinely seeks out responsibilities and is a strong team leader. Among those efforts: serving as the point person for an ABC insert audit for which the newspaper received a score of 98.6 percent, and as part of a newspaper-wide audience committee, advising the Information Center and Advertising on strategies for launching a new Outdoors niche Web site.
* Emily Hanson, manager/travel services, Gannett, McLean, VA: In her 13 years with Gannett, Emily has helped Gannett’s travelers through thousands of difficult bookings, rough trips and field emergencies with calmness and aplomb. Her mission for her traveling customers is to provide speed, ease, comfort and safety. Her mission for the company is cost effectiveness. In 2007, she helped create and implement a companywide travel policy after surveying Gannett’s units and working with the industry. Now more than 90 percent of Gannett’s travelers use the company’s cost-effective Web site for making travel plans. To date, she has saved the company more than $500,000.
* Don Heus, engineering maintenance supervisor, KSDK-TV, St. Louis: Don, a 32-year employee, runs the KSDK operation with quiet efficiency. He adapts to the fast pace of the industry and stays abreast of increasingly technical advances. Recently he and his team re-wired and re-cabled the newsroom to convert it to an Information Center, on time and with $50,000 in savings. Don and his team also fixed the station’s helicopter camera in a matter of days for under $5,000 – a fraction of the expected cost and time. At the heart of Don’s efforts is his great technical knowledge and expertise. His nominator said: Don’s style and mode of operation is “seeing the results before you even hear about the work in progress. … He’s always willing to go the extra mile.”
* Zach Morgan, senior analyst, Gannett Digital, McLean, VA: Zach is key to improving Gannett’s ability to manage and monetize its network of digital properties. Zach’s analysis was at the core of Gannett’s decision to partner with AdTech, culminating in an upcoming Ad Server project. This network-wide project will enhance Gannett’s control of ad inventory and its scheduling of ad campaigns – and ultimately will improve Gannett’s ability to sell to both local and national advertisers. He also has played a crucial role in other strategic projects, including the rollout of Gannett’s new online video platform and the quadrantONE venture. Zach’s deep knowledge of Gannett’s digital infrastructure, combined with his willingness to help solve problems and his collaborative style, make him an invaluable resource.
* Leroy Munger, senior district sales manager, USA TODAY Circulation: Leroy is central to USA TODAY’s University of Nebraska College Readership Program. Since its launch in 2000, the program has blossomed from a couple hundred copies a day to a full program spread over two city campuses. The University of Nebraska, Lincoln, program is the third largest in the country and still growing. Its success has led to programs at two other Nebraska campuses. It’s not uncommon to see Leroy on campus at all times of the day responding as quickly as he can to reports of card readers not functioning properly or to restock locations where newspapers have been completely sold out.
* Dick Thompson, distribution manager, Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, SD: Dick runs one of the most productive mailrooms and one of the safest distribution centers at Gannett. A Sioux Falls employee for 43 years, he’s a premier problem solver who has an eye for keeping down costs. When the distribution center needed to modify inserter pockets, Dick made them himself for less than $100. When a section of the mailroom overhead gripper chain failed, he saved thousands of dollars by finding a new supplier. When supervision of the loading dock was moved to the distribution center to enhance workflow, Dick had it operating more efficiently than ever. Says Publisher Arnold Garson: “Dick Thompson has been my hero from the day I walked into the Argus Leader more than 11 years ago.”
* Nhia Yang, multimedia desk manager/Information Center, The Sheboygan (WI) Press: Nhia added yet another chapter in what has been a remarkable story of success. Nhia joined the Sheboygan newspaper six years ago as a reporter, was promoted to copy editor, and in the fall of 2006 helped lead the charge in the transformation of the newspaper’s Information Center. Although 2007 was her first year as a manager, it was hard to tell: Her talent, drive and commitment helped Sheboygan lead the Gannett Wisconsin Group in video views in 2007. “Nhia’s work ethic, attention to detail and professional approach to video helped raise the bar not only in our Information Center but across Gannett Wisconsin,” said her nominator.
* Brooke Zapata, executive assistant to the publisher, The Desert Sun, Palm Springs, CA — Brooke is at the center of action for the entire operation, says her nominator. Advertisers, subscribers, managers and staff from every department come to her for answers or solutions. Brooke, who also is The Desert Sun’s business development and innovation manager, holds regular brainstorming meetings and spearheads advertising operations, advertising trend analysis and new project work. Last year, Zapata led the charge to transition obituaries from free to paid, generating $158,000; introduced a popular online Pet Playoffs feature; revamped the commission structure; and introduced section front ads. “Her strong leadership has bolstered the productivity and efficiency of the staff exponentially,” said her nominator.

“This is a remarkable group of honorees. They not only work to make Gannett a better company, but they are respected and admired by their coworkers and supervisors,” said Dubow. “And this year’s nominees all integrated innovation into their work, finding new ways to accomplish day-to-day tasks and creating efficiencies or enhancements. They are great role models for all Gannett employees.” The winners were selected from more than 82 nominations this year. Each winner will receive $1,000 and be honored at a reception April 24 at corporate headquarters in McLean, VA. Judges for the Unsung Heroes awards were Dubow; Gracia Martore, executive vice president and chief financial officer; Robert Dickey, president, Gannett U.S. Community Publishing; Paul Davidson, chairman and CEO of Newsquest plc; Roxanne Horning, senior vice president of Human Resources; Dave Lougee, president of Gannett Broadcasting; Craig Moon, president and publisher, USA TODAY; Chris Saridakis, senior vice president and chief digital officer; and Wendell Van Lare, senior vice president of Labor Relations.

Gannett Co., Inc. is a leading international news and information company that publishes 85 daily newspapers in the USA, including USA TODAY, the nation’s largest-selling daily newspaper. The company also owns nearly 900 non-daily publications in the USA and USA WEEKEND, a weekly newspaper magazine. Gannett subsidiary Newsquest is the United Kingdom’s second largest regional newspaper company. Newsquest publishes nearly 300 titles, including 17 daily newspapers, and a network of prize-winning Web sites. Gannett also operates 23 television stations in the United States and is an Internet leader with sites sponsored by its TV stations and newspapers including, one of the most popular news sites on the Web.

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