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The Kansas City Star's Editor Is Now Its President As Publisher Exits For Wichita

Cody Newill
KCUR 89.3
Tony Berg was regional publisher for McClatchy's central division, which includes The Kansas City Star.

Tony Berg is out as publisher of The Kansas City Star and Mike Fannin, its editor since 2008, has been named president of the newspaper.

Berg was named publisher and president of The Star in January 2016, after his predecessor, Mi-Ai Parrish, left to become publisher of The Arizona Republic.

The Wichita Eagle, in a brief, three-sentence item Friday afternoon, said that Berg will step in as publisher of that newspaper and of Kansas.com, The Eagle’s website. It also said that its general manager Dale Seiwert, is leaving after 40 years.

Berg previously had been regional publisher for McClatchy’s Central Division, which included The Star, The Eagle, Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Belleville (Illinois) News-Democrat.  

Berg’s LinkedIn site on Friday listed him as publisher of The Eagle only and as president and publisher of the Central Region until this month.  

Berg, who headed The Star’s advertising department and The Eagle’s advertising department before becoming publisher of The Star, could not be reached for comment. Fannin declined to comment.

The moves may be part of a larger corporate reshuffling, which includes the resignation of Mark Zieman, vice president-operations, of The McClatchy Co., the parent company of The Star and The Eagle.

In a regulatory filing on Friday, McClatchy said that Zieman, a former editor and publisher of The Star himself, informed McClatchy on Monday that he will leave the company at the end of the year. McClatchy said his role will not be filled.

The filing also said that R. Elaine Lintecum, McClatchy’s chief financial officer, told the company she plans to retire in June 2020.

Credit Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3
KCUR 89.3
Mike Fannin is now president of The Kansas City Star.

Fannin will continue as editor of The Star. A story posted on The Star’s website mid-Friday afternoon said he would lead the newspaper’s overall operations while continuing to oversee the newsroom.

The story quoted the president and CEO of McClatchy, Craig Forman, as saying, “Mike Fannin is among the most talented editors in America today, and he leads one of the country’s greatest newsrooms. I’m delighted that he’s now able to expand his influence both at The Star and also with the community that he loves.”

In addition to his duties at The Star, Fannin has news oversight responsibilities at six other McClatchy newspapers, including those in Fort Worth, Texas, and Lexington, Kentucky.

Berg, a native Kansan, is married and has three children. His wife has family in Wichita, and Berg reportedly moved to Wichita sometime in the last few months.

The moves at The Star and McClatchy come after McClatchy reported a second-quarter net loss of $17.5 million, compared with a $20.4 million loss a year earlier.

Last month, McClatchy, which is based in Sacramento, California, and is the third largest newspaper chain in the country, disclosed that it had been warned it could be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange unless it can boost its market capitalization to $75 million within 18 months. At the time, its market cap was about $52.4 million.

The company said it plans to submit a plan to the exchange detailing how it intends to comply with the exchange’s demand.

McClatchy’s stock closed Friday at $2.79, down 10 percent.

Dan Margolies is a senior reporter and editor at KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.

As a reporter covering breaking news and legal affairs, I want to demystify often-complex legal issues in order to expose the visible and invisible ways they affect people’s lives. I cover issues of justice and equity, and seek to ensure that significant and often under-covered developments get the attention they deserve so that KCUR listeners and readers are equipped with the knowledge they need to act as better informed citizens. Email me at dan@kcur.org.
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