Howard Weaver said today that he is retiring as vice president of news for The McClatchy Co., ending an extraordinary journalism career that won him two Pulitzer Prizes.
Weaver, 58, will leave The Bee's parent at year's end. He said he "always wanted to have a Phase 2 career," although he hasn't yet figured out what that next phase will bring. He might try some non-journalistic writing, he said.
"It's exhilarating rather than scary," he said.
A former Bee editor, Weaver oversees McClatchy's news bureaus in Washington and overseas, as well as the company's interest in McClatchy-Tribune Information Services, a news operation jointly owned by Tribune Co. of Chicago. He also consults with the top editors of every McClatchy newspaper, and has been an ardent cheerleader in the company's drive to embrace the Internet.
"Howard wholeheartedly embraced the digital age and saw an important place in it for McClatchy journalism," said McClatchy Chairman and Chief Executive Gary Pruitt. He said the company will look for a replacement.
Weaver's only regret about retiring is "a sense of walking away in the middle of a fight," he said.
That's a reference to the challenges confronting newspapers as the economy sinks and business bleeds away to the Web. McClatchy's own profits, revenue and stock price have dropped sharply in the past two years, and some analysts have questioned whether newspapers can survive.
Weaver said the next year or two will be extremely tough, but he's convinced "there's a stable, prosperous place out there where an independent McClatchy Co. can practice public service journalism."
In November I noted several Gannett executives had started announcing their "retirements" and wondered what was taking McClatchy so long. Alot of people noticed McClatchy had lopped off more than 20 percent of its rank and file over the last year, but no executives.