Press Releases

Hero image
For immediate release

Gannett’s Newspaper Division Announces Executive Appointments

McLEAN, VA – Three executive appointments were announced today in the Newspaper Division.

* John M. (Mike) Craft has been named president and publisher of the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson,
MS. He previously held a similar position at The Times in Shreveport, LA.

* Larry K. Whitaker succeeds Craft in Shreveport. He previously was president and publisher of the Chronicle-Tribune in Marion, IN.

* Emmett K. Smelser succeeds Whitaker in Marion. He also will continue to serve as president and publisher of The Star Press in Muncie, IN.

“Each of these executives is experienced in community newspaper management,” said Gary L. Watson, president of the Newspaper Division. “This experience will serve them well.”

Craft succeeds William (Bill) W. Hunsberger, who died earlier this month after suffering a heart attack.

“Mike and everyone at The Clarion-Ledger and Gannett still are dealing with the tragic loss of Bill Hunsberger,” Watson said. “While we recognize the need to move on, we do it with a strong appreciation of Bill’s legacy.”

Craft is a native of Jackson and holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Mississippi. He joined Gannett with the acquisition of the Jackson (TN) Sun in 1985, where he served as president and publisher. He moved to Shreveport in 1996.

Whitaker joined the company at the Arkansas Gazette in 1989. He served as the advertising director of the Gainesville (GA) Times, the News-Leader in Springfield, MO, and the Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times. He became president and publisher in Marion in 2000. He is a graduate of Morehead State University in Kentucky.

Smelser is an Indiana native who joined Gannett at The Palladium-Item in Richmond, IN, in 1968. He has served as editor and publisher in Richmond and at the Marietta (OH) Times before becoming publisher in Muncie in 2001. He is a graduate of Valparaiso (IN) University and Ball State University.

Gannett Co., Inc. is a leading international news and information company that publishes 101 daily newspapers in the USA, including USA TODAY, the nation’s largest-selling daily newspaper. The company also owns more than 500 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 more than 300 titles, including 17 daily newspapers, and a network of prize-winning Web sites. Gannett also operates 22 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.

For more information, contact:
Tara Connell
(703) 854-6049
Vice President of Corporate Communications