January 26, 2009

Tell the new boss what you want!

The new publisher talked to the staff in Bristol today, thanking us for our loyalty and promising we would be "a happy family" as The Bristol Press moves into the second half of its long life.
There is "a big history to live up to" in Bristol, Michael Schroeder said.
He urged the staff in Bristol -- and, no doubt, in New Britain -- to listen to colleagues, customers and readers. And he told us to share the ideas we hear, or have, with him.
That's a particularly welcome change from the Journal Register Co. years, when nobody ever wanted to listen to anything, ever.
Most people at The Bristol Press still have their jobs, though not all. We may have lost some fine people in the shuffle. I'm still not sure about that yet.
What I do know is that our reporting staff -- down to just Jackie Majerus and I now since we've had two people leave in recent weeks -- is still here. And so is the editor of the Press, Bill Sarno.
That's the core that we have to build from, but all of us have a long history in Bristol. We know the town. We know what we need to do. I'm pretty confident that Schroeder's going to let us get out there and do it.
I'm anxious to do this job without wondering how the corporate types at the JRC are going to mess things up.
At the same time, the connections between the Press and The Herald in New Britain are becoming deeper.
There will be one circulation director for both papers, Brenda Kelly. There will be one production manager for both papers, Wayne DePaulo. There will be one overall editor, Marc Levy, who is also the editor of The Herald.
Schroeder said he is also "anxiously looking for an ad director."
I would feel better, truthfully, if the Press were standing more on its own. I've never liked having our fate tied to New Britain's.
But if that's how it is, well, let's hope my worries are groundles. It doesn't really change what we need to do in Bristol.
Schroeder said he intends to "respect the past and look toward the future" at the Press, to bring back some old features of the paper while taking care to be contemporary, too.
He said we'll be doing experiments not done anywhere else in the months ahead, which is the sort of thing I like to hear. We're better off on the cutting edge. Boldness is crucial.
So, Bristol, tell Schroeder what you want in your paper. He's listening carefully.

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

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good luck Steve! I hope that the new owner also has a plan to move from "inks to links" because I think that's where the industry is headed. Keep up your good work.

By the way, whcich reportes left recently?

Steve Collins said...

Adam, who covered cops, got a job at a Glastonbury-based weekly last month. Sarah, who's been covering Plymouth, left for personal reasons last week.
I'd gladly work with either of them again.
I haven't heard anything yet about filling their positions, but of course hope that happens soon.

Steve Collins said...

As for moving from "inks to links," I am sure the new owner understands where things are heading.

Anonymous said...

Steve, nothing against you and Jackie, but you two can't cover everything in Bristol. They need more!

Anonymous said...

I think there should be a bristol Non profit goings on page, that would talk about volunteer options and what many of our great non-profit organizations are doing in the community.

I also would love to see a monthly Republican and Democrat article written by the Town Chairs discussing issue facing the town. It would be great if both columns were placed in the paper side by side to give peole an idea as to what the local parties are thinkng and doing. Just an idea.

mediaman said...

Please get rid of Sound Off and instead print more signed letters to the editor.

Anonymous said...

Addition of an anonymous feature to the editorial page would provide the area with a more balanced view of the minds of it's constituants .

Anonymous said...

Steve,
Bristol, New Britain and the 3 weeklies have to work together to make this work. THere is no way around that. The JRC was great at pitting you against each other building anger at the overwhelming job you each had to do with little help. The Press, Herald and the 3 weeklies are beyond that now. Your team can produce 3 papers. It just takes a little organization and the williness to do things a little differently. But you all can do it.

Odin said...

Today's "Sound Off" was one more instance of a yahoo displaying his personal ignorance, creating an erroneous public mistrust of the City. This person complained that Public Works was wasting money because the highway crews are out spreading something five hours before the snow. What he obviously doesn't know (because he doesn't actually READ the Bristol Press!) is that Public Works has switched from using sand to using a salt solution, and that the roads have to be pre-treated for it to work.

But I blame the Bristol Press for this, and Mike Schroeder. Printing anonymous, ignorant comments like this create the unfounded impression that City staff doesn't know what they are doing, and that is irresponsible. It is the OPPOSITE of journalism. Ignorance is viral and the Bristol Press is the vector.

Steve Collins said...

11:08 - I have no doubt it can be done. What I don't know is whether the New Britain-centered thinking that dominated the JRC is a thing of the past or not. I sure hope so.
I'm so tired of having to try to defend Sunday papers delivered in Bristol with front page features about faraway towns and front page headlines on many other days that give the impression something awful has happened in Bristol when it actually occurred elsewhere, and on and on and on.
I desperately want things to be different and better for The Bristol Press. But I know it will take time for change to seep into the system so I'm content to do my share, and more, and to see what happens in the days and weeks ahead.
I have no doubt that our readers are at least as eager as I am to see more of Bristol in The Bristol Press.

Steve Collins said...

Odin,
I'm not disagreeing with you about "Sound Off," but I have no doubt that no matter what any city does about snow removal, people will carp and gripe. It's one of those topics that brings inevitable criticism.
For what it's worth, I've personally heard far fewer complaints this year than normal despite the horrendous winter we've had so far.

Anonymous said...

Who is Bill Sarno? Is he the man in that New York Times story?

one of us said...

and we at public works goe out 2 hours before a storm, not 5

Anonymous said...

Why is some guy in New Britain directing the editorial content?

Anonymous said...

Give Steve a raise and make him work harder so he doesn't have time to post on here so much, lol

Anonymous said...

Get rid of the tabloid format. It just looks sleazy.

Odin said...

There is a huge difference between "carp and griping" from the lecturn at a City Council meeting, and having ridiculous remarks published in the newspaper. When someone like Mark Blashke does his thing at a Council meeting, people smile and shake their heads. But reading those same comments without attribution in the Bristol Press leaves the reader unable to "consider the source", which gives those comments undeserved credence. Nice try, but there is no way on God's earth you can justify "Sound Off".

Anonymous said...

No opinions from other states or newspapers - keep it to local area. I don't care about the Washington post, Idaho papers, etc...keep that section of the paper to locals.