Randy Hammer is retiring as president and publisher of the Asheville Citizen-Times.
Gathering staffers in the newsroom today, Hammer said his goodbyes to the team he’s led since 2007.
“It has been a great experience, but I would be lying to you if I said these have been the most blissful years of my career,” Hammer said. “We along with the nation have been on an economic roller coast and our company and industry have had to weather a lot of change.”
A native of Florida’s Panhandle, Hammer has been in newspapers since 1970, taking a job as a reporter and photographer for the Panama City (Florida) News Herald. He joined Gannett in 1974 as assistant news editor for the Pensacola News Journal. “My first big assignment was designing the front page of the newspaper when Richard Nixon resigned the presidency,” Hammer said.
The story goes on to say that Hammer plans to focus on his personal writing – he’s writing a book. I’ve been working for Hammer since returning to the Citizen-Times in 2010. He has overseen a tumultuous time at the newspaper, from a series of lay-offs and the shutting down of the newspaper’s local printing plant to being the target of a high-profile lawsuit lodged by a former editor and managing the move to an online pay wall that requires readers to pay for Internet content. It hasn’t all been bad for Hammer. The pay wall, from what I can see, has been fairly successful, at least for the company as a whole. There have been no furloughs this year, and lay offs have been spotty. The company has invested in iPhone and video editing technology. And Hammer oversaw the remaking of the Citizen-Times’ entertainment weekly, now called Asheville Scene, a publication that’s been received well.
We’ll see what’s next.