Mike Jung is leaving the Idaho Statesman to become president and publisher of The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla.
A search for his successor is underway, according to Mark Zieman, the vice president of operations for McClatchy Co., the Sacramento, Calif. company that owns the Statesman.
“The decision was excruciatingly difficult,” Jung said Monday. “I’ve said to many people that the Idaho Statesman is the best McClatchy paper to work at, and now I am going to one of Gannett’s best.”
Jung, 57, spent 10 years working in advertising sales for Florida Today in Melbourne, Fla. Both The Fort Myers newspaper and Florida Today are owned by Gannett Co., which owned the Statesman from the 1970s until 2005.
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Jung joined McClatchy and the Statesman in 2011 from the Santa Cruz Sentinel in California.
“I fell in love with Boise the day I moved here. I found a community that has tremendous passion and people that are uniquely engaged,” he said in a McClatchy announcement. “I am particularly proud of my colleagues at the Statesman and their dedication to serve readers and advertisers. Last year’s 150th celebration involved thousands of readers, and this year we made bold changes to the design, content and depth of coverage in the Statesman. Thank you for allowing me to be part of this special place.”
Zieman said he wished Jung the best and thanked him for his contributions to the newspaper and the company. “Boise is a great market for McClatchy, and we are committed to the continuing success of the Idaho Statesman and its service to the community,” he said.
Leaders of local groups to which Jung contributed said they had mixed emotions.
“That is crushing,” said Rod Gramer, president and CEO of Idaho Business for Education. “I’m very disappointed for Idaho, but I’m very happy for Mike. He’s been a tremendous asset to our community.”
Gramer said the Statesman, under Jung’s leadership, co-sponsored the first Idaho Reading and Literacy Summit in 2013. “I’ve known a lot of publishers at the Statesman, and I can’t think of one who’s been as involved in the community as Mike has,” Gramer said.
United Way of Treasure Valley President and CEO Nora Carpenter said her organization is “really thrilled for Mike’s advancement but very sorry to see him leaving the Treasure Valley.”
Jung was chairman of the board for United Way of Treasure Valley until last spring.
“He’s been very instrumental in helping us understand at the very deepest level the needs of our community, and guiding our work to ensure that the highest possible needs are attended to,” Carpenter said.
“I personally have never seen a leader come into our community as quickly as Mike has, learned and educated him- or herself about the community as quickly as Mike has, and frankly learned to care about our community,” she said.
Jung’s last day at the Statesman will be Friday, Aug. 21.