January 7, 2009

New publisher is a newspaper guy

Story by reporter Jackie Majerus:
Sitting down to breakfast with a friend last month, Mike Schroeder had never set foot in Bristol or New Britain.
Little did he know how fast – and how much – his world was about to change.
The 50-year-old Long Island resident, doing consulting work after nearly three decades in the news business, had given a lot of thought over the years about running his own community newspaper.
Now here was his friend, handing him a copy of the December 15 edition of The New York Times, which carried a story by columnist Dan Barry about the role that the 137-year-old Bristol Press has played in its community.
The story also carried the grim news that the paper's owner, the Journal Register Co., would close it and a dozen sister papers if they weren't sold by mid-January.
Schroeder's friend asked him if he ever thought about buying a newspaper, suggesting they might consider it together.
After thinking it over, Schroeder called his friend back and asked whether he was serious. He was, and they were on their way.
"I always wanted to retire as a gentleman publisher," said Schroeder.
Not long after that, Schroeder was scouting around Bristol and New Britain, meeting the mayors and getting a feel for the towns.
He got a warm welcome.
"Immediately the mayors came on board," said Schroeder, willing to drop their schedules to meet with him and talk about the newspapers and their communities. They put together the meeting that "sealed the deal," said Schroeder.
"Both of them have just been stellar," said Schroeder.
Schroeder said the sale of the two dailies and three weeklies to his newly-formed company, Central Connecticut Communications, should close within two weeks.
He said a handshake on New Year's Eve officially put the deal in motion.
His New York Times-reading friend, who Schroeder said prefers to be an anonymous, silent partner, is the primary investor and Schroeder's sole partner in the business, he said. 
"I'm totally the operating piece of this thing, and I better make it work, or I'm going to lose a friend," said Schroeder.
Schroeder, who said he came from a small town of just 2,700 people, said his first experience in journalism was typing out his own neighborhood newspaper – using carbon paper! – and selling copies for two cents each.
"I'd take a nickel if they gave it to me," he said.
He worked every possible job at his local paper, he said, and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and economics at the University of Southern California, where he was elected editor of the campus paper, the Daily Trojan.
He later earned a master of business administration from Long Island University.
After college, he worked at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and later, the Orange County Register. He also taught in the journalism school at USC.
Schroeder put in many years at Newsday, leaving in 2005 as general manager of Island Publications, the company's niche publications division. Before that, he was the publisher's chief of staff and earlier, director of editorial technology and information services.
An earlier stint at Newsday ran from 1983 to 1992, when Schroeder started work as a news editor and left as manager of editorial technology.
About a year ago, he "went out on a limb," he said, and started up Boston NOW, a free daily commuter paper, which was backed by investors from Iceland. That venture ended in April.
"When their economy collapsed, so did we," he said.
He went into consulting for a time, but now, Schroeder said, he can't wait to get started in his newest adventure.
His resume boasts a "proven track record" in a variety of challenges, "including startups, turnarounds, reorganizations and staff development."
With help from a friend, Schroeder intends to build a business that supports itself, serves the community "and lets me fulfill my dream."
He can help two communities save their newspapers, each with more than 130 years of publishing history "and have a great time" doing it, he said.
He said his wife, Janet Schroeder, who is a business manager for a charter school in New York, may work at the Connecticut papers, too. 
The couple, who worked together at Boston NOW, plan to move from Long Island to Central Connecticut, he said.

Thanks to CT NewsJunkie, here's some video of Schroeder at today's press conference:

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


Peter said...

Just an observation, but this photo reminded me of a calendar cover I recently spotted.

There's an uncanny resemblance between "Peter" of the Family Guy and Mr. Shroeder. No offense, but it's just too weird of a picture.


holding on said...

10:16pm - and you'll continue to be recognized as one of the losers who contribute nothing but adversity to your own self-destructive perverted views of life - talk about the dark side.

Over Reaction said...

@ January 8, 2009 7:53 AM

Lighten up on Peter. It was an observation.

You do realize your caustic attack reveals a dark side of your very own.

You might want to try a massage or something. You need to loosen up a little.

Anonymous said...

Ok back to a real comment....Is Mike a republican or dem ????? Just wondering?????????

bipartisan said...

why would political affiliation matter?

Tim Gamache said...

Absolutely correct "biparisan!"Political affiliation is completely irrelevant here.Let's give the man an oppurtunity to make the Press as good a newspaper as it can be.We can play a role by supporting his efforts by subscribing to and/or buying the paper.I for one am extremely glad this man stepped up to give Bristol an oppurtunity to save its' own daily newspaper.

Tim Gamache said...

I concur completely "bipartisan."Political affiliation is completely irrelevant here.Let's give the man a chance!We can help by either subscribing to or buying the paper daily.I for one am extremely glad Mr.Schroeder has "stepped up" to give Bristol a real chance to save its' own newspaper!

Anonymous said...

Politics not mattering in Bristol...com on...Asking if someone is a rep. or dem. is very important in Bristol..... I will rephrase it... Is this papers NEW direction with a NEW owner be to the left or right...as many papers do.

Steve Collins said...

I have no idea what the political leanings of the new publisher are, but I am virtually positive he will continue the paper's tradition of non-partisanship. The only interest The Bristol Press has ever had is the advancement of Bristol, though I'm sure in its 137 years, it has occasionally gone off track.

Counting Chickens said...

Isn't everyone counting their chickens before they've even hatched? This ain't a done deal yet.

A letter of intent is only that. As I read this unfolding story, Mr. Shroeder and his silent "moneyman/partner" have every intention of buying these papers, but as the saying goes: it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings. Seems to me, she's tuning up and rehearsing her lines, but she ain't sung a single note yet.

Nonetheless, I hope to hear her singing soon.

Frank said...

The political leanings of the new Bristol Press will determine its readership numbers. I would say that's important.

Frank said...

As long as the Press continues to claim nonpartisanship while leaning to the left, it will remain less than credible. Getting subscribers back will be impossible.

If you can't admit and be proud of what you are, then it's time to make a change.

Steve Collins said...

I recognize that nothing will ever convince you that any newspaper is nonpartisan. But, really, when you look up and see the sky is blue, do you think it means God is a Democrat? When you have to take a left turn while driving, does it make you cringe?
And, Frank, solely for argument's sake, why would you think a newspaper in a town that's got twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans would fare better by leaning toward the right? I can't even see your logic.

No Heed said...

Steve, Frank is one of the incessant naysayers who will never be short of pessimism, doom and gloom and down right negativism. Hopefully, he and his clones will forever stay closeted in domains such as this; exposure to sunlight, or anything positive, to these individuals is akin to subjecting superman to kryotonite.

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

>> do you think it means God is a Democrat?

Well we know better than that for heavens sakes. :-)

Seriously though;
What is it I've missed?

I'd rip you apart myself before you could say "uh oh! if I saw you print or post something with a left bias.

Quite the contrary; I won't forget the fact that while I was parading a heavily degreed Cuban-American woman around it was Steve Collins that gave us one of the few venues that remained straight, fair, and none of that cute out of context nonsense or misquotes either.

It's quite clear to me, and I've been kicking around the game for a few decades now; that Collins is among an increasingly small group of newspapermen that still remember what "Journalistic Integrity" is supposed to mean.

Even WTIC's Diane Smith showed a bias so strong that it seemed more like outright bigotry.

Oddly - there was one reporter from (of all places) the Hartford Courant, that was fair as well.

Anonymous said...

He is a Steve Collins look a like!

Steve Collins said...

Thank you Authentic Connecticut Republican. I try.
I'm not sure that in the end Miriam had kind words for me, but that happens, too. I do think I was always fair to her.
And I really do try to give even longshot candidates the opportunity to make their case to voters. I've always viewed that as a responsibility.
My only real regrets in terms of political coverage comes from an inability to do everything I'd like during a campaign. There's just not enough time, particularly as our staff got smaller and there were more stories in other areas that required my attention.

Anonymous said...

It is true about readership up. six thousand homes is not the whole town...Why not mail it like the Bristol Observer ????? Really why not!!

cseguin said...

Seems like a smart guy - USC has a fantastic journalism school, so the fact that he is a graduate and went back as a Professor shows something.

It's nice that the paper will be run by a newspaper guy. Hopefully this means many years to come for the Press.

Frank said...

"As long as the Press continues to claim nonpartisanship while leaning to the left, it will remain less than credible."

If the Press leaned to the right while claiming to be nonpartisan, it would still have a credibility problem. The point is that readers want to have the facts, untainted by political propaganda. If they feel they are not getting factual news, they will cancel their subscriptions.

Even if a reader has the same political leanings as the newspaper, he or she has to wonder where the real story ends and the spin begins.

Some papers try harder than others to discourage bias. I hope the Press, under new leadership, will be one that tries harder.

Steve Collins said...

The Press doesn't lean left, Frank. It never has.
And let me once again make clear that I firmly believe that in its news coverage, the paper should continue its long traditional of not skewing coverage toward either side of the political spectrum.
As the person who writes nearly all of the political stories in this paper -- as I have for many years -- if you have some specific problem with a story of mine, tell me about it. To make this broad sweeping charge that the paper is biased in favor of the Democrats is simply absurd.

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

>>The Press doesn't lean left, Frank. It never has.

Now that's just silly.

That (and I haven't a clue what your politics are personally) you refuse to bring your own agenda to a story hardly means most others in your profession don't.

They do, and there's no two ways about it.

While I admire your loyalty to
others in your business, but they simply don't deserve it as the vast majority of them are not of your caliber.


Steve Collins said...

Authentic Connecticut Republican -- I meant The Bristol Press doesn't lean left. The press as a whole, with the clear exception of radio, probably does to some degree. I think that's because it generally attracts idealists who are willing to work for relatively low pay, not exactly the Republican stereotype.
I've certainly met a fair number of conservatives in this business, but probably more liberals. I can see that.
What's always surprised me, though, is how many reporters really don't give a damn about politics. They're usually the ones who get tagged as leftists because they're too ignorant to realize something they've done could be construed as leaning to one side of the political spectrum or the other.
I realize that my own experiences with all of this may not apply at the level of network and newspaper coverage of high-level politics in DC. I see very little TV and haven't had enough dealings with the "elite" media to have any opinion on their fairness or politics.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the mayor of Terryville take advertising out of the Bristol Press due to its treatment of the Republicans in that town? I seem to remember that happening a few years back.

Also, I hope the Bristol Press will return to being a morning paper. It always used to be, then the deliveries got later and later until it became an afternoon paper. This makes the news older than it should be.

?????????????????? said...

6:08pm - ????????????????????

Anonymous said...

I remember the Press being an afternoon paper, and now mine is delivered in the morning. Although if I don't get it and call the office, they say I have to wait until 5PM to complain. And then there's no one there!