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Mary Jacobus, 52, New York Times executive Died Feb. 20, 2009

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Mary Jacobus, a veteran newspaper executive who in 2006 became president and chief operating officer of The New York Times Co.'s Regional Media Group, died Friday. She was 52.

Ms. Jacobus died of a sudden cerebral hemorrhage in St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, The New York Times Co. said in a statement. She had been hospitalized after she unexpectedly became ill at work Feb. 2.

The former Mary McCall, who grew up in the Town of Tonawanda, was a graduate of Nardin Academy and LeMoyne College in Syracuse. At the beginning of her career she held circulation management positions at The Buffalo News and the Buffalo Courier-Express.

"Mary was brilliant, dedicated, focused and witty," said Janet Robinson, president and CEO of The New York Times Co. "She passionately cared about all those around her and all that she did, personally and professionally. In many ways, she was one of our company's most popular and effective ambassadors for all that we hold dear as an organization."

Since 2007, Ms. Jacobus also had been a member of the board of directors of the Associated Press, and she served on its Revenue Committee.

"Mary was a special leader who took on the big problems, made them smaller and inspired many along the way," AP CEO Tom Curley said.

Ms. Jacobus had been named president and general manager of The Boston Globe, owned by The New York Times Co., in January 2006, then took the regional newspaper group job later that year.

The New York Times Regional Media Group has 15 daily newspapers and 24 weeklies, mostly in the southeastern United States and California, as well as regional magazines and Web sites.

Before that, Ms. Jacobus held a variety of newspaper executive jobs in several states.

In 1998, she became publisher of the Duluth (Minn.) News-Tribune, owned by Knight Ridder Inc. In 2001, she moved to Fort Wayne, Ind., where she was publisher of Knight Ridder's News-Sentinel and president and chief executive officer of Fort Wayne Newspapers.

Before going to Duluth, she had been vice president for sales and marketing at The Gazette in Colorado Springs, Colo., owned by Freedom Communications Inc.

She also served as director of sales and marketing at the Times Advocate in Escondido, Calif.; and held advertising and circulation management positions at the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram.

Ms. Jacobus was one of several news executives who took part in a panel discussion in 2007 about the future of the industry at the North Carolina Press Association's annual meeting.

The group of executives agreed that the challenge facing the industry is to figure out how to profitably deliver the news. But Jacobus said the opportunities on the Internet mean "we have never had a larger audience for our content."

Ms. Jacobus is survived by her husband, Dean, and 15-year-old triplets, Kelly, Kimberly and Bill.

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