Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rick Rodriguez resigns

Sacramento Bee Executive Editor Rick Rodriguez has resigned his job at the paper, he and Publisher Janis Heaphy told the newsroom here this afternoon.

I wasn't taking notes but Janis said something like this: "Rick and I have worked together for many years and I have immense respect for him and his contributions. However, Rick and I differ over my vision for the long-term future direction of the Bee and so we have mutually decided to part. We have agreed not to publicly discuss this, though I want to reassure you our differences are not based on expenses or staffing or our commitment to quality journalism." She repeated in answer to a question later that the issues weren't financial.

UPDATE: Sacramento Bee story here.

Neither of them answered questions about Rick's decision.

Janis also announced that Rick will start working as a consultant with me after the first of the year. Asked what he planned to do, Rick said, "I'm taking a vacation and then after the first of the year I'll be working with Howard – unless I get a better offer."

UPDATE TWO: Bee's internal announcement here:


DATE: October 18, 2007

TO: All Employees

FROM: Janis Heaphy

RE: Rick Rodriguez steps down

After nine years as The Bee’s executive editor and senior vice president, Rick Rodriguez has announced his plans to leave The Bee and pursue other opportunities.

I am close to naming his successor and hope to do so shortly. Managing Editor Joyce Terhaar will serve as editor in the interim.

Rick served The Bee and our community with pride, determination and compassion. Under his leadership, The Bee won virtually every major journalism award, culminating in a Pulitzer Prize for feature photography earlier this year. Rick is highly regarded throughout the industry and served as president of The American Society of Newspaper Editors in 2005. He was named one of America’s 100 most influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine in 2006.

As the Sacramento area grew, Rick recognized the opportunity for a strong regional news source and positioned The Bee to fill this role. He overhauled the paper’s regional coverage, opened news offices in Roseville, Folsom and Elk Grove and built an influential Capitol bureau to serve as the source of record for California politics.

Rick also championed high-impact investigative journalism, and projects like “Chief’s Disease,” which detailed disability claim abuse in the California Highway Patrol, and “Pineros,” a series on the hardships and inequities facing immigrant forest workers, sparked lasting social, legal and political reform.

A graduate of Stanford University, Rick began his 28-year career with McClatchy at The Fresno Bee in 1979 and moved to The Bee in 1983 as a political reporter and then editorial writer. He was named managing editor in 1993 and promoted to executive editor in 1998.

“I’ve had the experience of a lifetime working at The Bee and am grateful to the passionate journalists who have dedicated themselves to this paper and to working with me, “ said Rick. “I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together and the reputation that we have built for this fine paper.”

Starting early next year, Rick will begin working with McClatchy’s Vice President for News, Howard Weaver as a consultant on journalism issues, providing analysis, personnel advice and other assistance.

I have immense respect for Rick and wish him all the best in his new ventures. Please join me in thanking Rick for his many contributions.

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