Welcome to Bawlamer, Hon  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  The Beat
From AJR,   September 2002

Welcome to Bawlamer, Hon   

Tribune Co. picks Denise Palmer to replace retiring Baltimore Sun Publisher Michael E. Waller.

By Gabriel Baird
     


The Baltimore Sun's new publisher, Denise Palmer, achieves a long-held goal when she takes the top post September 23. In her 22 years with Tribune Co., which owns the Sun, "what I have been building for is to become a publisher," says Palmer, who rose from corporate auditor to president and chief executive of all-news cable ChicagoLand Television. She replaces Michael E. Waller, who is retiring at 61 after five years as publisher.

It won't be the first time she's switched mediums. After five years as finance director for Chicago's WGN-AM, Palmer, 45, held a similar title at the Chicago Tribune, then became the Trib's vice president of development, strategy and finance until jumping to CLTV in 2000.

Under Palmer's leadership, CLTV developed a show on personal finance, found advertisers and aired it within three months. Creating a comparable newspaper section requires "a much longer product-development time," Palmer says. She hopes to speed up this process at the Sun.

As for her aspirations for her new paper, "I want to see good journalism that reflects its community but also challenges the community," Palmer says. She points to the paper's partnership with Baltimore's WMAR-TV as one way to promote the Sun's content. "When you put your heart and soul into writing an article or story, I'd think you'd want as many people as possible to read that and be exposed to that."

Waller, who ascended the editorial hierarchy from sports clerk at Illinois' Decatur Herald to editor of the Kansas City Star to publisher of the Hartford Courant, is known as a passionate newspaperman. "He has a keen eye for a good story. He's terrific company," says Sun Editor William K. Marimow. "He has bedrock integrity when it comes to matters of journalistic principles."

To help with the transition, Waller will stay on as chairman until January. And after he leaves? "I don't think I'll miss anything," Waller says. "I have a lot of other things I want to do, none of which resemble work."

###