Q&A with Mei-Mei Chan, new publisher of The News-Press
Mei-Mei Chan, vice president of advertising at The Seattle Times and former National AAJA Vice President, has been named president and publisher of The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla., effective March 29. Mei-Mei has been vice president of advertising at The Seattle Times since 2004. She succeeds Carol Hudler, who was named president and publisher of The Tennessean in Nashville late last year.
Read The News-Press story about Mei-Mei being named its next publisher.
As many of you know, Mei-Mei started as a reporter in 1981 in Illinois, became an editor at USA Today, and served as executive editor of the Post Register in Idaho Falls, Idaho. In 1997, she switched to the business side of newspapers, becoming head of circulation at The Seattle Times. She was instrumental in The Times’ conversion to a morning circulation and was named Sales Executive of the Year for large newspapers by the Newspaper Association of America in 2003.
Read more about her career path on the AAJA National website. You can also read the National Association of Multicultural Media Executives’ Q&A with Mei-Mei in 2003.
AAJA Seattle chapter president Sanjay Bhatt did a short Q&A with Mei-Mei on March 23.
Q: Why did you move from the news side to the advertising side and how was that transition?
A: I wanted to keep growing, contributing and being challenged… and [Seattle Times Publisher] Frank Blethen gave me the opportunity to do so! I became head of the Circulation department in 1997, then head of Advertising in 2005. I loved applying my journalistic skills to learning new disciplines, probing and diagnosing core issues, and identifying patterns among the chaos. Certainly there have been many a news day when I missed being in the intense creative frying pan cooking up a fabulous story!
Q: How do you keep yourself inspired and hopeful during these hard times?
A: I’ve had the privilege of working with incredibly talented, dedicated teams. Their creativity and courage on behalf of The Seattle Times energizes me and everyone around us. There are many successes to celebrate nearly every day, reinforcing that we are on the right path to excellence. And, my family remains my most important foundation.
Q: As you’ve progressed in your career, what’s enabled you to keep a balance with family life?
A: When I work, I work very, very efficiently and intently. When I’m home, I’m intent on the family. Or I try really, really hard to be! Of course the two intersect and overlap and push and pull on each other. You have to be clear on your priorities, and on what’s most important to you at the end of the day. You want to encourage your family to remind you of those priorities. And one of the unique attractions about The Seattle Times is that it embraces the strength of families.
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