updated 4/29/2004 3:21:36 PM ET 2004-04-29T19:21:36

USA Today, the country's largest-selling newspaper, named Kenneth Paulson to be its new editor Thursday following the abrupt resignation last week of Karen Jurgensen in the wake of a devastating fraud scandal involving a former star reporter.

The newspaper also made several other senior-level editorial appointments as it moves to rebuild its stature following the debacle involving Jack Kelley, who was found to have committed many acts of fabrication and plagiarism over the course of the past decade.

Paulson is a longtime newspaper editor and the executive director of the First Amendment Center as well as the vice president of the Freedom Forum. He assumes his position immediately.

A panel of journalism experts, after a lengthy review, faulted the newspaper's editorial oversight and said USA Today's editors should have investigated Kelley's misdeeds years ago.

The newspaper's managing editor for news, Hal Ritter, also resigned last week and executive editor Brian Gallagher said he would remain in his current position only long enough to make the transition to the next editor.

On Thursday USA Today announced that John Hillkirk, formerly managing editor of the newspaper's business section, would succeed Gallagher as executive editor, and that Carol Stevens, former editor of the editorial page, would become managing editor for news.

Gallagher was named editor of the editorial page, and Jim Henderson, the deputy managing editor in the business section, was named to replace Hillkirk.

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