Virgil L. Smith earned his Bachelor of Science and Master’s degree from the University of San Francisco. He began his media career in 1971 at The Sacramento Bee, where he held a number of positions including circulation manager and personnel director before moving to the Fresno Bee (California) as the director of consumer marketing and chief labor negotiator in 1984. In 1991 he joined the Gannett Company as associate publisher in Stockton, California; and was named president and publisher in 1992 before serving as the assistant to the senior group president of the Gannett Pacific Group in Reno, Nevada. In 1996, he served as president and publisher of the Asheville, Citizen-Times (North Carolina) for ten years. In September 2006 he was appointed Vice President for Talent Management for the Gannett Company; in October 2010, his title was changed to Vice President Talent Acquisition and Diversity. In August 2014, responsibilities were changed to focus on diversity initiatives for Gannett. He has earned numerous professional and community awards, including being named one of the top three managers in Gannett and awarded a Gannett President’s Ring.