Terry Egger Named New Publisher of Philadelphia Newspapers
Terry Egger, former publisher of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, has been named the publisher at Philadelphia Media Network, overseeing the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com.
He was named to the position by PMN’s owner, Gerry Lenfest, who had assumed the title of publisher after buying the papers in 2014. Lenfest had said he would hire a replacement after reaching deals with the newspaper’s unions — a process that concluded over the summer.
“Terry is a proven leader in the industry and has a tremendous vision and understanding of what we need to do to keep our printed papers strong while also expanding our digital news portfolio,” Lenfest said in a statement. “His strong leadership and management skills will serve us well as we continue to transform this company into one of the most innovative media organizations in the industry. He understands the importance of strong journalism as our lifeblood.”
“This is a wonderful opportunity indeed,” Egger added, “and with Gerry’s ownership, a strong new Board of Directors in place, the talented professionals working at PMN and a vibrant community, we have what we need to evolve and succeed. I can’t wait to get started.”
Egger spent eight years at the Cleveland paper, following 10 years in leadership at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He most recently had led Cleveland’s effort to host the 2016 Republican National Convention in that city.
Egger’s return to newspapering is a bit of a surprise: His retirement from the Plain Dealer in 2013 sounded like a permanent leave from journalism.
“I will be 55 this week, and while it has not been an easy decision to leave a career and industry that I love, I am excited about starting a productive next phase in my life,” Egger said in his retirement announcement.
Egger’s papers have weathered the same headwinds faced by Philly newspapers during the 21st century. The Plain Dealer reportedly cut 64 newsroom jobs during a 2006 buyout, then shed another 38 in 2008, then another 50 in 2013 before Egger left, reportedly leaving just 110 journalists at the paper by the end of his stint there.
“No one likes this stuff, but someone has to handle it,” Egger told IBMag.com in 2011. “If you’re on a boat, and that’s the storm you’re in, then how do you get out of it?”
The Plain Dealer was a subsidiary of Advance Publications. During Egger’s time with the company, Advance made waves in the industry at its New Orleans paper, cutting the daily Times-Picayune back to three days a week and publishing digitally at NOLA.com during the rest of the week. The Plain Dealer took a less radical approach, cutting home delivery to three days a week but continuing to print the paper daily.
Egger’s appointment brought praise from outside the company, cautious hope from within it.
“The Guild is hopeful that Mr. Egger can provide the leadership and change necessary to propel this company to greatness and profitability,” said Howard Gensler, the Daily News gossip columnist and president of the Newspaper Guild. “If he’s been given the power to look at the business with a fresh set of eyes, that’s potentially a good thing.”
“This is a terrific hire for the newspapers and the region,” said David Boardman, dean of the School of Media and Communication at Temple University. “Terry Egger has a sterling reputation among editors as a man who is both a good businessman and a great steward of quality public service journalism. I couldn’t be more delighted about it.”
Egger will be at PMN’s Market Street headquarters on Thursday and Friday this week.
See the full announcement below:
LENFEST NAMES EGGER AS PHILADELPHIA MEDIA NETWORK’S NEXT CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND PUBLISHER
PHILADELPHIA (August 24, 2015) — Veteran media executive Terrance C.Z. “Terry” Egger has been named Chief Executive Officer and Publisher of Philadelphia Media Network LLC (PMN), the parent company of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com, which collectively represent the region’s largest media organization.
Egger, who has has spent more than three decades in the news business as a publisher, advertising executive and marketing executive, is the founder and principal of CZ Advisors, a Cleveland-based consulting firm. He most recently served as the President and CEO of the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee, Inc., where he led the successful effort to secure Cleveland’s bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Previously, Egger spent eight years leading the parent company of The Plain-Dealer in Cleveland, and before that served for 10 years in a similar capacity at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He was also a newspaper executive in Tucson, Arizona.
The announcement was made Monday by Gerry Lenfest, PMN’s current publisher who became the sole owner of the company in June 2014. Egger, 57, will assume his new role on October 1.
“Terry is a proven leader in the industry and has a tremendous vision and understanding of what we need to do to keep our printed papers strong while also expanding our digital news portfolio,” said Lenfest. “His strong leadership and management skills will serve us well as we continue to transform this company into one of the most innovative media organizations in the industry. He understands the importance of strong journalism as our lifeblood.”
While Egger replaces Lenfest as publisher, Lenfest said that, as the owner of PMN, he plans to remain involved with PMN’s new Board of Directors and the Company’s strategic oversight.
“I am very excited about working with Gerry and the entire PMN team,” said Egger. “There is no question our industry faces some tough challenges, but the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com have a mission of serving this community with a strong daily news report on all platforms and we will continue to do just that as we maximize the collective power of these award-winning brands.
“We will also aggressively pursue more creative advertising and marketing solutions for businesses throughout the market,” he added. “We want our business partners to grow and we want to help drive that growth.”
In 2013, Egger retired as Chairman of The Plain Dealer Publishing Co. where he was responsible for the overall policy, operation and direction of Ohio’s largest newspaper. He joined that newspaper in May 2006 and served as its President, Publisher and CEO.
Prior to The Plain Dealer, he served as the President and Publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which he joined in 1996. In addition to publishing the daily newspaper, he was responsible for all operations, including STLtoday.com, STL Distribution LLC and Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis.
Earlier in his career, Egger was Vice President of Advertising for Tucson Newspapers in Tucson, Arizona. He also worked as Marketing Services Manager and later Advertising Director for Copley Los Angeles Newspapers. He began his newspaper career at a small bi-weekly newspaper in Southern California. Prior to newspapers, he taught college communications courses in California.
Egger is a member of the Board of Directors for Medical Mutual of Ohio. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, serves on the Group Plan Commission and is Co-Chair of Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland. He is a Life Director of the Board for United Way of Greater Cleveland and served as Chairman of United Way’s Board from 2010-2012. Terry served on the Executive Committee for the Greater Cleveland Partnership and was Co-Chair of the Marketing Committee for the 2013 National Senior Games. He also served on the Board of the Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Museum of Art.
“This is a wonderful opportunity indeed,” Egger said, “and with Gerry’s ownership, a strong new Board of Directors in place, the talented professionals working at PMN and a vibrant community, we have what we need to evolve and succeed. I can’t wait to get started.”
Terry is a native of Rock Island, Illinois. He received a Bachelor’s degree from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and a Master’s degree in Speech Communication from San Diego State University.
He and his wife, Renuka, have three children: Anthony, Ali and Danny.
About Philadelphia Media Network
With its multiple brand platforms and integrated print and digital products, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia Daily News Weekend and Philly.com comprise the region’s largest media network. PMN’s publications/website reach an average weekly audience of 1.8 million adults in the 8-county area – more than the combination of the four late evening television news shows or the combination of the top 5 most-listened-to local radio stations during morning drive-time programming.