By: Nu Yang
When we put out a call for Publisher of the Year nominations, we asked for “a successful newspaper leader” who “must strategize from the trenches with practicality and realism, but think with foresight and imagination.” As we reviewed more than 50 nominations from newspapers from around the country and even Canada, we certainly found those leaders. They came from small papers, Spanish-lanaguage media, metropolitan dailies, and alternative weeklies. We received nominations from publishers with an array of experience, some who were working in newsrooms when the Watergate scandal broke to publishers who grew up watching MTV after school when it still played music videos.
We heard from The Washington Blade, the oldest LGBT newspaper in the United States. Publisher Lynne Brown was credited for resurrecting the Blade and other several papers after the parent company went under. Last month, the Blade is celebrated its 45th anniversary.
John Wolfe of The Columbus Dispatch was recognized for stabilizing staff and circulation as the paper underwent a major redesign, which saw the paper change from a broadsheet to a three-around format.
We also heard from the La Gaceta newspaper in Tampa, Fla., where publisher R. Patrick Manteiga has expanded the publication’s reach to seven other counties in the state, opening office and retail locations in each, with seven more to open in the next year. As a result, advertising rose from 30 to 70 percent.
A familiar name also popped up in my inbox. Mike Klingensmith, publisher of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and our 2011 Publisher of the Year. In just these last 12 months, he helped engineer the sale of the Star Tribune to Minnesota billionaire Glen Taylor and is currently orchestrating a move for employees as they transition into a 21st century newsroom in 2015.
These are just a few examples of publishers leading the charge. Men and women taking risks, creating innovations and facing challenges head-on. One message is clear: these publishers aren’t backing down.
Narrowing down the list to our top candidates wasn’t an easy feat, but one publisher stood out: Karen Andreas, regional publisher of the North of Boston Media Group. With more than 25 years of experience, Andreas started as a reporting intern at the Daily News of Newburyport, Mass. when she was 20. Now she leads a combined staff of 375 employees in seven locations. Being publisher means you have to wear many hats—and Andreas certainly wears many of them. Not only is she active in all aspects of the business, she is also heavily involved in her community and dedicated to its economic growth. Her passion is contagious; see for yourself here.
The fact isn’t lost on us that Andreas is a woman publisher in a male-dominated field. Although this year’s American Society of News Editors newsroom census reported that 63 percent of the news organizations surveyed had at least one woman among their top three editors, women only made up 35 percent of supervising roles compared to 65 percent of men. If we want those numbers to change, more newsrooms have to commit to the hiring, training, and promoting of women and minorities. These are the kind of changes we need to see in order for this industry to succeed.