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Updated Sep 4, 2013, 1:48 pm Originally posted Sep 4, 2013, 12:57 pm
Mark B. Evans, administrator of TucsonCitizen.com's collection of community blogs, is moving over to become the editor of Inside Tucson Business. He will replace Dave Hatfield, ITB editor since 2004, who will take a government communications position with Pima County.
"It's a job that found me," Evans said. "I get to get back to what I got into the business to do."
"My experience is leading a team of reporters," he said. While he doesn't have wholesale changes for the business publication up his sleeve, Evans said he intends to focus coverage on "regulatory actions of local governments ... taxes especially," as well as real estate, economic development and entrepreneurism.
Top executives at Gannett Inc. don't have a contingency plan for Evans leaving. He has managed the website of the Citizen since the national media chain shut down the newspaper's press in May 2009.
"I was glad to have been asked to keep a job when the newspaper shut down," he said.
Evans described the work of Citizen staff holdover Anthony Gimino as "stellar reporting," lauding him and fellow sportswriter Andy Morales, but laid out the challenges of running the blogging site.
The Citizen is an "orphan" despite being part of "the largest media company in the world," he said. Depending on "resources borrowed from the (Arizona Daily) Star" is "frustrating," he said.
Evans last day working for Gannett is Sept. 20; he starts with the Wick Communications-owned ITB three days later.
"I assume they're going to hire somebody to replace me," he said of the future of the Citizen site.
Kate Marymont, Gannett's senior vice president for news, said, "The news is 24 hours old — I don't have an answer for that," when questioned by phone about the media chain's plans for the site.
"It's much too early to have an answer," said Marymont, who had not discussed Evan's departure with him. "I'm not being evasive; we really don't know."
Gannett, which publishes 80-plus newspapers around the United States and some in Britain, has maintained its presence in the Tucson market by keeping the Citizen website up, and retaining a partnership in the business operation that publishes the Daily Star. The editorial operations of the Star are managed by another national chain, the financially troubled Lee Enterprises.
Evans, an inveterate newsman, is more focused on his future reporting business news, talking about his plans for investigative, "big-project" journalism.
"I want to do watercooler stories," he said. "This is an opportunity to get back to what I love."
Before joining the Citizen as assistant city editor in 2007, Evans was editor of the Northwest Explorer, where he began in 1996.
"It is well known in Tucson journalism circles that any reporter who works for Mark becomes a better journalist," said ITB publisher Tom Lee in a statement.
Hatfield's last day with the paper will be Sept. 27.
"Dave has done a great job for us since becoming editor in November 2004," Lee wrote.
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