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Archive for Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Harris newspapers president ready to retire

John Lee will be succeeded by firm’s vice president

March 21, 2006

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— John Lee, president and chief executive officer of Harris Enterprises Inc., the newspaper management company based in Hutchinson, has announced plans to retire effective June 3.

Bruce Buchanan, the company's vice president, will succeed him. Harris operates seven daily newspapers in Kansas and one in Iowa, as well as weekly shopper publications and the Salina-based Market-Aide Services Inc. Its newspapers include The Hutchinson News, The Garden City Telegram, The Salina Journal, The Hays Daily News, The Parsons Sun, The Chanute Tribune and The Ottawa Herald, all in Kansas, and The Hawk Eye in Burlington, Iowa.

Lee, 64, will serve as a senior management adviser through the end of the year, and will remain on the corporation's board of directors.

Lee, a native of Iowa who graduated from high school at Ottawa, attended Baylor University and then Kansas University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1968 and a master's four years later.

He joined The Hutchinson News as a reporter in 1972, and after being named to the company's executive intern program the following year he held various positions at Hutchinson, Salina and Hays. He became editor of The Hays Daily News in 1976 and publisher that same year, transferring to company headquarters in 1984. Lee has been the Harris CEO since Lloyd Ballhagen retired at the end of 1997.

Buchanan, 49, was born in Bucklin and grew up in Washington, Kan., where his parents owned the weekly Washington County News. After graduating from Kansas State University in 1981 he joined The Hutchinson News as a copy editor and reporter. He became a Harris executive intern, training at several newspapers in Kansas and at Simi Valley, Calif., where he was assistant to the publisher of The Simi Valley Enterprise before being named editor and publisher of The Parsons Sun in 1984.

Buchanan became editor and publisher of The Olathe Daily News in 1990. When Harris contracted to sell that paper, he joined the company's management staff and was named editor and publisher of The Hutchinson News in 1996.

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