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Hutton Named Detroit Free Press Publisher

December 9, 2003

DETROIT (AP) _ Carole Leigh Hutton, executive editor of the Detroit Free Press, will become the paper’s first woman publisher in its 172-year history.

Hutton, who will retain her job as executive editor, will take over Jan. 1 from Heath Meriwether, who is retiring, Knight Ridder announced Monday.

``Carole Leigh is a first-rate journalist and leader who has been a key figure at the Free Press for 13 years, helping lead the paper through many tough times. We have enormous confidence in her abilities, and look forward to the good things she will do as publisher and executive editor,″ Knight Ridder Chairman and CEO Tony Ridder said in a statement.

Hutton, the first woman to become the newspaper’s executive editor, has a deep knowledge of and affection for the Detroit area, Knight Ridder Newspaper Division president Steve Rossi said.

Hutton, 47, told the newsroom staff she was thrilled to take over the top job at the newspaper.

``Excellence is the goal,″ she said.

A native of Framingham, Mass., Hutton attended Michigan State University. After graduating in 1978, she returned to suburban Boston to become editor of a start-up weekly, The Natick Sun.

A year later, she became a reporter with The Times in Hammond, Ind., where she spent 10 years moving through the ranks of reporter, state editor, city editor and managing editor.

Hutton joined The Detroit News in 1988 as an editor. She moved to the Free Press two years later as an assistant city editor. Hutton became city editor in 1993, deputy managing editor in 1995 and managing editor in 1996.

Hutton formerly headed the Michigan AP Editorial Association. She also is a member and former committee chairwoman of the national Associated Press Managing Editors, and a member and former committee chairwoman of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

In March 2002, Crain’s Detroit Business named her one of the 100 most influential women of southeast Michigan.

Meriwether, 59, joined the Free Press as executive editor in 1987 and became publisher on Jan. 1, 1996. He came to Detroit from The Miami Herald, where he spent 17 years in jobs from reporter to executive editor. He announced his retirement plans in July.