Gannett dollars go to WCU scholarship that benefits Gannett execs

Western Carolina University officials acknowledged this week that the Gannett Foundation helped Gannett CEO Craig Dubow and his wife, Denise, establish a scholarship at the university in their name—with no credit to Gannett, and off-limits to most Gannett employees’ children, according to a post on Jim Hopkins’ Gannett Blog.

Officials disclosed the foundation’s role only after Hopkins filed an open-records request, according to the post. Hopkins says the scholarships were only available to Dubow and a few other Gannett executives. “There’s nothing illegal here,” says Hopkins. “But Dubow’s actions, combined with the foundation’s refusal to fully disclose them, show how brazenly Gannett pampers the top brass—even as it slashed thousands of jobs, froze the pension plan, and imposed other harsh steps to restore prosperity.”

Xpress reported on Hopkins’ allegations earlier in Tight-lips evoke raised eyebrows: What’s up with Gannett Foundation’s $40K gift to WCU?

—Jeff Fobes


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About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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3 thoughts on “Gannett dollars go to WCU scholarship that benefits Gannett execs

  1. cwaster

    Thanks for breaking this story. Now that’s a classy move on their part, how nice, their employees lose their jobs but the exec kids still have cushy scholarships.

  2. Jeff Fobes

    Hopkins’ investigation, as of Dec. 23:

    Hopkins is arguing that because the Dubows’ contract with WCU must be renegotiated if there are any changes to the funding sources, and because the funding sources have been shown not to be “family and friends” — but rather the Gannett Foundation — therefore the contract needs to be renegotiated.

    An anonymous commenter notes that the foundation rules require all recipients to be nonprofits, and none to be individuals. The implied problem with this is that the foundation money appears to have gone to the Dubows, who then donated it to WCU.

    Hopkins article takes up what district attorneys have legal oversight of the matters.

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