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Publisher fired at Niagara newspapers

The publisher of the Greater Niagara Newspaper Group was fired Wednesday, the third top executive to be ousted in eight years.

Wayne K. Lowman, 49, was let go with little advance notice, as were his predecessors, Steven A. Braver in 2003, and Mark Francis in 1999.

Employees at the flagship newspaper, the Niagara Gazette, said they didn't know the reason for the dismissal, but the paper's owner, Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. of Birmingham, Ala., is known to be losing circulation in Niagara County. Kevin Kampman, Community Newspaper's chief operating officer for this area, was not immediately available to comment.

The company's other area papers are the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, the Tonawanda News and the Medina Journal-Register. The company owns newspapers in more than 200 U.S. communities.

Lowman said he had no immediate plans and didn't know if he would stay in the area. Also in doubt, he said, are his seats on local boards. He is chairman of the executive committee of the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. and is on the board of the Niagara USA Chamber.

Before coming to Niagara Falls, Lowman was publisher at the Kokomo Tribune in Kokomo, Ind.

Hard times in the newspaper business prompted the layoff of 27 employees in July 2003 at the Niagara Gazette and the Tonawanda News, and another four layoffs in January 2005. Those firings included veteran night city editor Susan Campbell and sportswriter Bill Wolcott.

Wolcott, who worked at the Niagara Gazette for 37 years, was fired without severance or pension. He was later rehired full time at the Lockport Union-Sun and Journal at a considerable pay cut.

e-mail: bmichelmore@buffnews.com

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