Charles Pittman retiring at Schurz Communications

Charles Pittman

Charles Pittman

Charles Pittman, senior vice president for publishing at Schurz Communications, will  retire effective March 31.

Pittman made his announcement in a call to Schurz Communication’s publishers the last week of January.

He has spent the last 11 years with Schurz Communications and a total of 33 years in the newspaper industry.

“I have strongly mixed emotions,” Todd Schurz, President and CEO of Schurz Communications, said about Pittman’s retirement. “While I am thrilled that Charles and Maurese can move together into the next chapter of their lives,  our company will miss his vision, wisdom and integrity.”

Charles Pittman commented, “I have truly enjoyed my work in the publishing industry and with the Schurz family in particular. I greatly appreciate the relationships I have forged over the years. I subscribe to the philosophy that it is better to leave too soon than to stay too long. So that is what I am doing. Thanks for allowing me to spend my last 33 years in this business with most of you.”

Schurz Communications, based in Mishawaka, Ind., publishes 11 daily and eight weekly newspapers in medium and small markets with a combined circulation of nearly 225,000. It also publishes shopping publications in California, has 10 television stations, owns 13 radio stations and operates three others, and owns three cable companies, a phone directory and a printing company.

In addition to his responsibilities with Schurz, Charles has been active in the newspaper industry with service on a number of boards including the Associated Press Board of Directors, The Inland Press Association, The Newspaper Association of America and The Newspaper Association of America Foundation. He served as president of the Inland Press Association board in 2010 and as president of the Inland Foundation board.

Pittman, 66, brought a broad range of experience to his job with Schurz Communication in 2002…college football All-American, professional football player, banker, newspaper promotion manager, newspaper classified manager, newspaper sports columnist, corporate vice president for newspapers and newspaper publisher.

“What I really want to be is a helper,” Pittman said in 2002, describing what his role would be at Schurz Communications. “I want people to see me as someone who has had a lot of experience and is anxious to share that experience,” he said.

That experience began in 1966 when he left his Baltimore, MD home to enroll at Penn State University on a football scholarship, a member of the first class recruited by the legendary Joe Paterno. In his four years at Penn State the teams had two undefeated seasons and Pittman was selected as an All-American his senior year. After graduation he was drafted by the St. Louis football Cardinals where he spent two years before being traded to Baltimore where he spent another year.

Then he decided it was time to put his Business Administration degree to work and joined a bank in Erie, Pennsylvania. His newspaper career was launched in 1981 at the Erie newspaper company as a promotion manager. In 1990 he joined the Knight-Ridder newspaper organization, serving in a variety of capacities. He joined Lee Enterprises in 1996 as publisher of the Decatur, IL Herald and Review. He was named Corporate Vice President for newspapers at Lee in 1997 and publisher of Lee’s flagship publication, the Davenport, IA Quad City Times, in 1998.

Pittman, over his 33-year career, has been one of the most committed diversity advocates in the newspaper business. He was one of a handful of African Americans at the senior vice president level at a mainstream newspaper company.

In 2008, the Associated Press Managing Editors awarded Pittman its Robert C McGruder  award for diversity leadership.

“Pittman, who won in the over-75,000 circulation category, has been a persistent and influential voice for diversity and industry change, particularly among the people who lead newspaper companies,” said Jeanne Fox-Alston, vice president of the Newspaper Association of America Foundation. “Through actions and words, he has leveraged the access that he has to industry leaders, and at his company has set an example for others to follow.”

UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc., named Schurz Communication is one of only three media companies working with it to increase the number of senior newsroom managers of color through the ‘Ten by 2010′ initiative. Each summer, Schurz Communications newsrooms also host a dozen multimedia journalism interns from the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute. And Schurz filled several full-time positions in recent years with graduates of another Diversity Institute journalism-training program. . . .”