John A. Kirkpatrick, longtime publisher of the Patriot-News in Harrisburg, is leaving to become president of Lancaster Newspapers Inc., the organizations announced today.
According to the organizations, Kirkpatrick came to the Patriot-News as editor in 1991 and became its publisher in 1997, then added the role of president in 2001.
When the Patriot-News, PennLive and Central PA Magazine formed PA Media Group at the beginning of this year and commenced a transition to three print editions a week and a 24-hour website, Kirkpatrick was named its president.
In a news release, Vincent Better, PA Media Group's vice president of digital solutions, emphasized Kirkpatrick's role in the news organization's transformation.
"Kirk's uncanny ability to foresee the digital shift in our media landscape became the blueprint for our future of this organization," Better said. "The path is quite clear to us all, and we have seen both audience and revenue growth in the digital space as a result."
According to PA Media Group, PennLive.com has nearly 2.5 million unique visitors monthly.
The Patriot-News reported that D. Lee Carlson, vice president and general manager of Advance Central Services Pennsylvania, will serve as interim president of PA Media Group.
Lancaster Newspapers said Kirkpatrick will join its team on Monday, Oct. 28.
"I am not a newspaper man by training," said Robert M. Krasne, who is the publisher and vice chairman of Lancaster Newspapers as well as its current president. "John has devoted his life to this industry and is a recognized leader in this industry. The opportunity to bring him on board certainly upgrades Lancaster Newspapers' talent pool."
Krasne said Kirkpatrick will be involved in all aspects of the organization's news and information delivery, with direct responsibility for the daily paper and oversight of the organization's several monthly publications.
Asked what it means that Lancaster Newspapers is bringing in someone whose current publication is widely noted for having switched to a nondaily print delivery model, Krasne said he doesn't think there's anything to be gleaned from that. Referencing what he termed extensive conversations on the topic, he said, "We both recognize that Harrisburg is Harrisburg and Lancaster is Lancaster."