Updated: Rusty Coats Resigns As Scripps Interactive Head; Leaving Newspaper Business Behind

Newspaper website veteran Rusty Coats is leaving his post as VP of interactive for the newspaper division of The E. W. Scripps, E&P reports. In a memo (after the jump) sent to Scripps staffers, Coats, who was instrumental in establishing the Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Newspaper Consortium, also said that he’s leaving the newspaper business altogether, although his note also pointed to more personal reasons as well. His departure from Scripps is effective as of Monday. In December, Coats’ wife, Janet, resigned as executive editor at the Tampa Tribune and VP of news for parent company Media General.
Although he didn’t specifically point to the dire state of the newspaper industry, Coats, who spent 15 of his 20-year newspaper career on the online side, clearly wants to do something different. As he wrote in his memo, “There is a lot of innovation happening in the interactive space — some in newspapers, some outside. I want to see what’s outside without viewing it through a familiar lens.”
He also expressed personal reasons for making this decision. Coats, who was based in Scripps’ Knoxville, Tenn., office, told colleagues he stepping down because he put “work ahead of my wife and family for much too long.” A colleague said his wife resigned her job to join him in Knoxville.
Coats began working with Yahoo on forming the Newspaper Consortium when he was in his previous job as as managing director of product and audience development for Media General (NYSE: MEG). He continued to be heavily involved in the Yahoo group in his role at Scripps, which was another founding member.
Memos from Coats and Mark Contreras, E.W. Scripps (NYSE: SSP) Co.’s SVP follow below:
To: Content & Marketing staff
From: Rusty Coats
Re: Announcement
March 4, 2010
I wanted to tell you personally that I am resigning as Vice President of Content and Marketing for E.W. Scripps Newspapers. My last day is Monday, March 8.
This decision is both professional and personal.
On the professional side, after more than 20 years with newspapers