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Star Tribune loses digital boss to New York Times

Dan Shorter, the Star Tribune’s president of digital media, has jumped to a vice-president’s job with the New York Times regional newspapers.

It’s a high-profile loss as the Strib prepares to exit bankruptcy, though I didn’t hear huge wailing when I called around this morning. That said, an internal memo noted page views and time spent on-site more than doubled since Shorter arrived 19 months ago, and “retail digital display advertising sales are more than $1 million ahead of last year.”

Still, the question is whether the Strib’s new owners and soon-to-be-announced CEO will take this opportunity to pare their bureaucracy. According to bankruptcy filings, Shorter was paid $355,918 in his first year in Minneapolis. For the moment, Digital Executive Director Jason Erdahl heads up the shop, as he did on an interim basis when Shorter’s predecessor Ken Riddick left.

(Riddick, by the way, went on to manage the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s online-only move in his current job as Hearst Newspapers’ Digital V.P.)

Shorter’s departure also ends — for the moment, anyway — a curious chapter in the Strib’s history.

For a time, three of the paper’s top executives maintained their primary residences elsewhere: Harte, in Austin, Texas; former Chief Financial Officer David Montgomery, in Duluth (where he’s now that city’s chief financial officer); and Shorter, in Florida, where his wife still lives and where he’ll be stationed running online operations for 14 Times-owned papers in the South and California.

Hopefully, their successors will want to live here full-time — though given the uncertainty of the Strib’s future ownership, you could understand if they rented.

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