The Eagle's publisher accepts job in Alabama

Wichita Eagle publisher and president Pam Siddall is leaving the paper she has led for the past two years to take a similar job in her home state.

Siddall, 41, will become president and publisher of the Birmingham (Ala.) News on Monday. Her last day at The Eagle is Friday.

Bob Weil, vice president for operations at McClatchy, The Eagle's parent company, made the announcement Monday.

"I know that that comes as a huge disappointment to you as it does to us at McClatchy," Weil told employees at a meeting in The Eagle's newsroom.

Weil said a search for Siddall's successor will begin immediately. Editor Sherry Chisenhall will lead The Eagle in the interim.

Siddall, who was in Alabama on Monday morning, said she was excited about the new job in Birmingham but sad to leave the Eagle.

She was raised in Phenix City, Ala. Her parents live there, as do her five siblings and their families.

" (In Birmingham) I'm within three hours of every one of them," she said. "Recent health issues with my parents kind of tugged at my heart that it was time to come back home."

Siddall joined The Eagle in November 2007 from Columbus, Ga., where she was president of the Ledger-Enquirer, also a McClatchy paper.

Her newspaper career started with Knight Ridder as chief financial officer of the Ledger-Enquirer in 1997.

Four years later she was hired as CFO of the Macon, Ga., Telegraph. In 2003 she returned to the Ledger-Enquirer as vice president and general manager and was named its president and publisher in 2004.

Siddall said her family — daughters Haley, 14, and Annika, 8, and husband, Greg — will remain in Wichita until the end of the school year.

Siddall said the Birmingham paper, which is owned by Advance Publications, serves a community of more than 1.2 million people. It is Alabama's largest-circulation newspaper.