Gannett has named Maribel Perez Wadsworth its new publisher of USA Today, replacing retiring publisher John Zidich, who had held the job since 2015. Wadsworth worked her way up at Gannett, starting with the company more than two decades ago as an agriculture reporter, before moving into corporate roles.
Wadsworth will continue her role as president of the USA Today network, which oversees USA Today and more than 100 other media brands throughout the country. Further bolstering its female executive team, Gannett’s decision comes shortly after it named Nicole Carroll editor in chief of USA Today.
Wadsworth said she would continue to focus on providing the network’s newsrooms with the resources it needs to support its investigative and enterprise work.
“We continue, as all in the industry, to navigate a time of a lot of pressure as our business models are under increasing pressure from competitors, particularly for ad dollars, and especially for mobile business models, where all the audience is going,” Wadsworth said. “That said, I feel really good that we have today a much greater reach than we’ve ever had before.”
Wadsworth started with Gannett as an agriculture reporter at the Rockford Register Star in Rockford, Ill., and went on to become general manager for custom publications and managing editor for digital at The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla.
In 2009, she stepped into a corporate position and was tasked with leading digital strategy for Gannett’s local newsrooms and in 2015, became the company’s first chief strategy officer.
“Maribel’s passion for creating great experiences for our audiences as well as her commitment to constant innovation make her the ideal leader for USA Today,” said Robert Dickey, president and CEO of Gannett, in a statement. “In her more than two decades with Gannett, Maribel has gained a unique perspective on the strong and important relationship between USA Today and our local network properties and their unmatched ability to together drive nationwide journalistic impact.”
She has been president of the USA Today network since November 2017 and sits on the boards of the News Media Alliance and the International News Media Association.