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Posted on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 10:42 a.m. announces new editorial leadership

By Staff’s editorial staff will be under new leadership as of July 7 when Chief Content Officer Tony Dearing leaves the digital news organization to join

Paula Gardner, news director since April 2011, will now supervise’s entire editorial staff.


Paula Gardner

Gardner will serve as Community News Director for Ann Arbor, which is part of the MLive Media Group.

Dearing will join the editorial team. He joins Matt Kraner,’s founding CEO, in the New Jersey-based venture. was launched in summer 2009, building its web presence into what this past winter was measured - with — as the top newspaper affiliated website in the U.S. for reach in a local market. It also publishes a newspaper on Thursday and Sunday.


Tony Dearing

“Under Tony’s leadership, we built a new model for digital local news coverage, and developed a newsroom that operates with a spirit of teamwork, collaboration, integrity and urgency,” said Laurel Champion, executive vice president of

“While we are sad to see Tony leave Ann Arbor, we are very fortunate that he leaves us with this outstanding local news team in Ann Arbor,” Champion said.

Gardner, an Ann Arbor resident, joined at its launch, when she was Business Director. She previously was editor of Michigan Business Review, which included Ann Arbor Business Review. She’s been a journalist in the Ann Arbor area since 1988, working at the former Ypsilanti Press, Ann Arbor News and Detroit Free Press before joining Business Review at its launch in 2003.

“Paula has played a significant role in our company’s success,” Champion said, “setting high standards for local journalism while growing our audience substantially. I am looking forward to working more closely with Paula, and know that the leadership she brings will continue our growth and success.”

MLive Media Group, including its website and print publications, covers statewide news and nine other markets in Michigan, including Detroit, Lansing and Grand Rapids.



Sat, Jun 30, 2012 : 7:06 p.m.

While I happily congratulate Paula Gardner, I also think she has big shoes to fill. I can only confirm what others have said about Tony Dearing: throughout the past 3 years, he has displayed only dogged courtesy to me personally - and the obvious determination to make the fitting & worthy news agency for this town. I am very much afraid of being "prophetic" when I say: it will be hard to replace you, Tony. Best wishes and best of luck to you.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

I still think so. :) Congratulations Paula.

Ronald K. Dankert

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

Congratulations Paula! Looking forward to your tenure at Ron Dankert


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

Congratulations, Paula. You're an excellent journalist. Glad you're sticking around.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 11 a.m.

I agree with @Tom Wieder and the many commenters above that is a far superior product to the old Ann Arbor News, whose motto could have been "80% True, But You'll Never Know Which Part Is True and Which Part Is False!" I decided to get involved and help for 4 reasons: 1) To be great, a town must have an well functioning newspaper, serving as a watchdog and printing timely all the news that the political leaders don't want printed to ensure honest and effective government of that town. 2) was committed from the beginning to quickly and immediately correcting errors in its reporting brought to its attention, unlike the Ann Arbor News. 3) Tony Dearing was committed to doing the job as a commummate professional. He has a level headed demeanor, is fair, and while being accessible, is willing to explain his reasons for the decisions he made, and his reasons are sound. 4) Paula Gardner was fair and accurate in her reporting of local business news. The flaws of in my opinion that commenters above have noted, are mostly the fault of the S.I. Newhouse organization which owns and many other organizations. For starters, they have now taken away from us some of the key talent that developed Also, if the technology is still imperfect it's because the parent organization hasn't provide the IT resources to do it right. I am still waiting for the unpost my comment button option and for the program that tells me how many words I have left in a comment to be accurate! So, kudos to Tony and Paula as they take on their new roles and I wish them the best!

Street Cred Swag For Real

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:48 a.m.

Your newspaper is bad, and you should feel BAD.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 11:20 p.m.

@ Hmm; re: "Paula i hope you take a less hands off approach to moderating than Tony did, it was/is over the top to say the least!" Did you mean less hands-on? I think you probably did — "over the top" implies too much of something, and it would be odd to call a hands-off approach "too much not taking action." Many people over the years have written to ask why on earth their comment was deleted, and I myself think that has been too aggressive on that count. But I don't want to put words into your mouth, Hmm, I'm just asking.

Tom Wieder

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 10:55 p.m.

Tony- I, like many others, am going to miss you. I don't miss The Ann Arbor News. I think that serves my need for local news better than The News usually did - faster, more updated, accessible anywhere and anytime. And some very good reporting in many areas. Most of all, you have been an open, accessible, responsive chief of the news operation. From the other comments, I know that many people appreciate that as much as I do. Thank you for your work here, and best of luck in NJ. Paula - A most enthusiastic Congratulations! I believe that this is the first time in the history of A2 that the dominant local news medium's content effort has been headed by a woman. It's about time! We are lucky to have someone of your obviously great writing and editing skills running the show.

Kai Petainen

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 10:02 p.m.

In the past few years, Ann has improved quite a bit, and I notice that improvement. Less and less you sound like a marketing arm for various groups. You still do that to some extent, but that's expected of any newspaper in some manner. That being said, I wish both of you a hearty Congratulations. I'll still complain when i complain, but I'll also thank and offer kind words as well. Tony, at your new job take the good (and the bad) that you learned here, and keep pushing yourself forward. My best wishes to you. eh? I can't help but wonder if the commentators are as mean/nice as we are. Paula, the website has improved... keep it up, but keep pushing the journalistic integrity. Congrats to you as well.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

Congrats Paula, I say don't worry about the spellcheck, or grammer police. The reason I say that now is, after pouring over many 1929 Ann Arbor Daily and Detroit Free Press newspapers I recently found under an old hardwood floor in Ann Arbor, that is the way it should be! I was amused at the style of it old tyme newspaper journalism. And compared to that, you have nothing to worry about!


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

Congrats, Paula A position that is well deserved, take it to another level. From an old Ypsi business friend.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

Good luck to Tony, and congrats to Paula. I would encourage you to put 'quality' before (or in place of) 'urgency'... referring to Laurel Champion's comments above. Honestly, 50% of the criticism your editorial staff takes could be avoided with a simple spell-check, fact-check, or just a plain ol' once-over by another set of eyes. As I type this, I have just clicked on the SPORTS tab....headline on the photo of the top featured story: "Kent State baseball says he's not headed to 'that school up north'." Really, I didn't know baseballs could talk.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

I was down in New Orleans covering the demise of the Times-Picayune and more than one person (but fewer than a dozen) pointed to as proof of the bad intentions of Newhouse. Particularly when it comes to coverage of A2 SPARK, the DDA and the governor, it would be great if you could take a more skeptical tack on those stories. Good luck. As the ghost of George Orwell reminds us- 'Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.'


Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

I had a subscription to the A2 News all the while I was growing up. What was I when (my dad) was paying for it?


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

And your quote reminds me of another (not sure of the author): "If you're getting something free on the Internet, you're not the customer, you're the product."

Linda Peck

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

Congratulations, Ms Gardner! Good luck, Mr. Dearing!


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 6:14 p.m.

Good luck, Tony! Will miss seeing your smiling face out and about Liberty and Fifth. And, congratulations, Paula.

Jeff Renner

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

Congrats, Paula, and Tony, too. It's going to be a big job, though, as others have noted.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 5:34 p.m.

Does this mean that we can finally get some reporters who are at least objective instead of the usual left leaning, left thinking? Congrats to Paula!


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:31 p.m.

Go down to Liberty @ Fifth ave and put in an application, then run down the street and apply to run for office.

Top Cat

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

Yo Tony. You think you got a tough crowd here in Ann Arbor ? Fugetaboutit. Just remember to end all your editorials in New Jersey with "You got a problem with that?" Best of luck. Remember, it's called soda not pop.

Tony Dearing

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

Thanks, Top Cat. I think I've been schooled in the New Jersey ways.

Do not vote for Conan!

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 5:23 p.m. wait a minute, all these people commenting have to be Toni's and Paula's friends. The people I know call it "Ann Arbor snooze". This new blog type of paper doesn't even come close to the quality that the old Ann Arbor News had.

Matt Cooper

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 8:08 p.m.

If you don't like it, why do you read it? Congrats Paula and Tony!!

Emma Jackson

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 5:23 p.m.

Tony, it was GREAT having you back in the area and I concur with many of the comments already made about your fairness and willing to really listen to concerns. You are a true professional and I wish you the best in your next venture, New Jersey is fortunate to have you on board. Paula, you are one of the most amazing editors that I've had the privilege of working with and I know is in good hands. Congratulations!

Tony Dearing

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

I'll miss working with you, Emma, but at least I had that opportunity twice, and it was a pleasure both times. Belated congrats on your new position as well.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

good luck to both the incoming and departing...


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:20 p.m.

I wish Tony (an Paula) well. Tony has been gracious and helped me on numerous occasions when I had site issues and comments. He will be an asset to his new organization, I'm sure.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 4:04 p.m.

Tony...say it ain't so!!


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 1:10 p.m.

Now, now...let's be bipartisan and call it a kangaraffe.

Basic Bob

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 9:43 a.m.

Zippy is a kangaroo


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 6:50 p.m.

I think I will just blame you Bob. I don't like Giraffe's anyway

Basic Bob

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 5:10 p.m.

Blame Snyder

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

I actually have a lot of respect for Paula Gardner's past journalism. But spare me the violin music Ms. Champion--everything you promised with the launch of has just not be true. Why should we trust anything you say now?

David Cahill

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

Congratulations to Paula! She has done outstanding work as a reporter and news director. I'm sure she'll have the same high standards as editorial staff supervisor.


Sat, Jun 30, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

Which, if true, will mean a drastic reduction in reporting staff. If that is, Ms. Gardener functions as a true editor. We shall see.

Geoff Larcom

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.

Congratulations to Paula, who has already had a distinguished career in various editing roles, including city editor in the grand old heyday of The Ypsilanti Press.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

Sorry to lose Tony - he is a veteran and professional and he will be missed ... Paul is great and she will do fine my concern is - is there enough of Paula to go around to mentor and nuture so many green journalists? many of whom would be writing obits still and learning the trade under the old business model but are now given Grade A beats to cover? the lack of (enough) strong editors is one reason many find so frustrating when it comes to stories and long term vision of the medium


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:39 p.m.

Paula i hope you take a less hands off approach to moderating than Tony did, it was/is over the top to say the least!

Tom Teague

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

Congratulations to both of you, Tony and Paula. Tony - You've done great work getting off the ground. However, I'm just imagining the comment section on; you may soon be wishing for a return to the respectful and calm tone of commenters! Best of luck to you.

Tony Dearing

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 8:31 p.m.

Tom, we have a few commenters who may have toughened me up a little bit. And Cash, thanks for being such an engaged reader and commenter going back to our earliest days. Though we've never met, I feel like I know you personally, and it's been a pleasure.

Tom Teague

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 8:18 p.m.

Thanks Cash! @topcat did me one better in a comment below though and even included the spelling of "fugetaboutit."


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 7:42 p.m.

Too funny, Tom. I was thinking the same thing......Ann Arbor is a LONG way from Jersey!


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:29 p.m.

And please meet the new in-house censor, Martin Chuzzlewitt


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 4:06 p.m.

And here I thought the new editors were going to get roasted. Sounds like changes are a happening in Ann Arbor, again.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.


Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:25 p.m.

Will this mean more or less or status quo for..... "A comment that violated's conversation guidelines was removed." Because sometimes it seems like somebody gets paid a commission for .... "A comment that violated's conversation guidelines was removed."

Kyle Mattson

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

Hi Craig- We continually look into all components of the site and how they add value to our readership. This is particularly true for commenting and moderation procedures. We recently conducted a survey asking for reader input on commenting and will be analyzing how we can improve this feature in the coming months. If you ever have any other questions or thoughts on commenting please feel free to email community(at) Cheers!


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

Paula time for a new pic......

Paula Gardner

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

I was just thinking that!

Superior Twp voter

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:16 p.m.

Ms. Gardner, Congrats to you. One request - are you able to "pull some strings" on editorials and delete all liberal musings of Thos Friedman and Paul Krugman? Aw shucks, while we're at it, pull Maureen Dowd, too. Thank you in advance.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

As to Mr Krugman, spend some time looking up his predictions, you will find him to be more accurate than most columnists and other pundits. It may pay to have an open mind as well. --A Hamilton College class and their public policy professor analyzed the predicts of 26 pundits — including Sunday morning TV talkers — and used a scale of 1 to 5 to rate their accuracy. After Paul Krugman, the most accurate pundits were Maureen Dowd, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "The Bad" list includes Thomas Friedman, Clarence Page, and Bob Herbert. ...Also landing in the "Good" category, were conservative columnists Kathleen Parker and David Brooks, along with Bush Administration Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. Those scoring lowest – "The Ugly" – with negative tallies were conservative columnist Cal Thomas; U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC); U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI); U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, a McCain supporter and Democrat-turned-Independent from Connecticut; Sam Donaldson of ABC; and conservative columnist George Will."---

Rod Johnson

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 10:50 p.m.

Maybe the mean people who have been forcing you to read those columns could be prevailed on to let up.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

Maybe you can start up and run your own columns?


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

"Under Tony's leadership, we built a new model for digital local news coverage, and developed a newsroom that operates with a spirit of teamwork, collaboration, integrity and urgency," said Laurel Champion, executive vice president of" Nice sentiment but if you read the comments section and notice the abnormal amount of comments on the substance, integrity and, yes, even grammar in the stories, maybe not so much. This may, however, sadly be the best one gets with a franchise "newspaper." Let's hope Ms. Gardner can make some improvements.

Paula Gardner

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

Thank you. And yes, A2Citizen, that's very true:)


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

Congrats Paula. And good luck Tony.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

I congratulate both Ms. Gardner and Mr. Dearing. I always have enjoyed Ms. Gardner's professional writing and demeanor, as well as her attention to detail. My comments above regarding Ms. Gardner also apply to Mr. Dearing. He has brought well-balanced reasoning to his editorials, as well as to his replies to comments throughout Speaking for myself, I appreciate the Ironman patience he has demonstrated in his dealings with me, both online and through numerous emails. Although he has had numerous opportunities to do otherwise, his responses always have been respectful, though we did disagree on numerous occasions. I wish him the very best of luck and I hope the new position and location are a positive step for him in all respects. I will miss you, Tony.

Tony Dearing

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 3:10 p.m.

Thank you for the kind words. It has always been a pleasure to talk with you about our coverage. Your thoughtfulness and your interest in what we do and how we do it are things I will miss. My best regards.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Congrats Paula. Your best friend will be spellchekc.


Wed, Jun 27, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

Congratulations Paula