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Indianapolis Star gets new publisher

December 22, 2010

An Arizona newspaper executive is set to take over as publisher of The Indianapolis Star, replacing Michael G. Kane.

Karen Crotchfelt, a senior vice president at fellow Gannett newspaper The Arizona Republic, will begin as president and publisher of Star Media on Jan. 3.

Gannett Co. officials introduced Crotchfelt, 40, at a staff meeting at the newspaper's Indianapolis headquarters Wednesday morning.

It is the first publishing assignment for Crotchfelt, a native of central Illinois who plans to relocate to Indianapolis with her husband and two children. She is a 15-year veteran of Gannett.

Crotchfelt said in an interview that she sees a strong future for newspaper companies, which have struggled as readers and advertisers flock to online products. Of particular importance: Newspapers’ role as a government watchdog, and as a provider of innovative solutions to advertisers.

“I think it’s actually a great time for locally based media companies,” Crotchfelt said. “I’m bullish on the future of local media.”

She’ll spend the next few weeks getting up to speed on the particular challenges facing Star Media.

Crotchfelt was introduced at an all-staff meeting by Bob Dickey, Gannett’s U.S. community publishing president, and Kane, who was named as Star Media's publisher in July 2008.

Gannett said Kane is leaving to become president of a company division based in Rochester, N.Y., that will oversee publishing holdings in the eastern United States.

Tom Spalding, president of the Indianapolis News Guild, welcomed the new publisher in a statement that noted the 166-member union had shrunk almost 28 percent since 2008, thanks to a series of layoffs and attrition.

"She’ll soon be a Hoosier, and we're confident she will strive to make decisions that are good for The Indianapolis Star and good for the journalists and building services employees who we represent," Spalding wrote.

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