MONROE, La. (AP) — David Petty has announced his retirement as president and publisher of The News-Star newspaper in Monroe, and Executive Editor Kathy Spurlock will replace him.
Petty, a newspaper veteran of 53 years, announced his retirement Monday at a company luncheon. His tenure at the Gannett Co. Inc.-owned newspaper officially ends June 30.
Louisiana Gannett Regional President Judi Terzotis named Executive Editor Kathy Spurlock as general manager to succeed Petty. Spurlock officially takes the new post July 1.
Petty has been publisher for the past 11 years. Highlights of his tenure included the diversification of the core business to a media company that includes digital platforms, the daily newspaper and magazines and the conversion from a 60-year-old letterpress to offset production, The News-Star reported (http://tnsne.ws/1l7APm7).
The newspaper has been a consistent winner of freedom of information, community service and public service awards in the Louisiana Press Association, Louisiana/Mississippi APME and Best of Gannett contests.
"David's contributions to The News-Star and Gannett have been significant," Terzotis said in making the announcement. "He's guided the organization through our industry's transformation and set a high bar of excellence. ... He leaves very big shoes to fill. We wish him the very best on the next chapter of his life."
Petty began his newspaper career in 1961 as a 15-year-old part-time sports writer at the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock, Arkansas. After working there through high school and college and after multiple promotions, he was managing editor of the paper when it was purchased by the Gannett in 1986.
Following the 1991 sale and merger of the Arkansas Gazette into the Arkansas-Democrat, he was named executive editor of The News-Star in 1992. He was promoted to publisher of the Hattiesburg American in 1995 and was named editor of The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1997. He returned to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in 2000 as publisher before being named publisher in Monroe in 2003.
When Petty left Monroe for Hattiesburg in 1995, Spurlock succeeded him as executive editor.
"There are always mixed emotions when you leave a job, but in this case I am confident that things will only improve under Kathy's leadership," Petty said. "She has been an integral part of all the success we have had."
Spurlock started her career at The News-Star in 1975 and rose through various mid-level positions.
"When looking at the possible successors for David, one name quickly became the natural choice," Terzotis said. "Kathy Spurlock's passion and commitment to the team at The News-Star and the Monroe community set her apart from the rest. I'm confident she will help lead the talented team at The News-Star to even greater heights."
Spurlock has served in various editing positions at the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi before returning to The News-Star.
Spurlock is president of the Louisiana/Mississippi APME board of directors, and a member of the Louisiana Press Association's Freedom of Information Committee, after having served as chairman for a number of years. She has served on the national board of the American Society of News Editors and as an ASNE Distinguished Writing Awards juror.
Information from: The News-Star, http://www.thenewsstar.com