Mei-Mei's career highlights

Born in Canton, China, Mei-Mei and her parents immigrated to Chicago when she was 7. As English is her second language, she never dreamt of a career in journalism. She has often said, “I am the American dream come true.” 
 
Career highlights:
 
  • Her unusual mix of executive experience in news, circulation, advertising and consumer marketing culminated in her leading The News-Press, based in Fort Myers, FL., as President and Publisher from 2010-2015, and becoming Florida Regional President for Gannett in 2013.
    • During her tenure there, she was lauded for being a bold catalyst for community advancement, sparking a regional focus on education, workforce and economic development. She earned a variety of local and regional awards along with three Gannett honors: finalist for 2014 manager of the year; Award for Diversity and Leadership received in 2012; President’s Ring for 2010 achievements.
 
  • Throughout her career, she was among the few Asian Americans at the top levels including as executive editor of the Post-Register in Idaho Falls, ID. 

    • She served as an industry leader on the importance of diversity, including as an officer in the Asian American Journalists Association and the (now defunct) National Association of Minority Media Executives. She famously told a conference of publishers, "You all look alike."

 

  • She was among the first Gannett “loaners” to help start up USA Today in 1982, and wrote the first cover story for the (now defunct) USA Weekend magazine. In 2013, she oversaw the integration of USA Today content into The News-Press, which was among the first four papers to lead the way for the Gannett content strategy.

 

  • She managed through the industry’s last major newspaper strike in 2000 as the Vice President of Circulation at The Seattle Times, publishing and delivering every day during the 49-day labor action.

 

  • She met her husband, Randy Kirk, at the Commercial-News in Danville, IL, when she was a cub reporter and he was the assistant managing editor. They celebrated their 33rd anniversary in 2015.

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© 2015 by Mei-Mei Chan Kirk