New ‘Newsday’ Editor Vows Improvements, Despite Pending Buyouts

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By: Joe Strupp

For John Mancini, the newly named editor of Newsday in Melville, N.Y., life at the top will include a rough start. With a staff already reduced by a string of buyouts in recent years and a major circulation scandal affecting revenue, the incoming editor admits he will have to do more with less, and doesn’t hide the fact that it will be tough.

“Everyone is going to share the pain,” Mancini, 44, told E&P just hours after he was appointed to succeed editor Howard Schneider. “We are going to have to make staff reductions and that is no secret.”

Mancini confirmed reports of yet another buyout, which is likely to be announced later this week, but did not know how many people it would target or what the specific offer would include. Still, he stressed that the paper could improve with a further reduced staff.

“We have to reorient the business of Newsday, but it is not unlike the challenge faced by newspapers everywhere,” Mancini said. “We have to see what is the best way to shape this.” He vowed that the paper’s recent inroads back into New York City, which it left abruptly in 1995 after the folding of 10-year-old New York Newsday, would not be affected by the cutbacks.

“We are not reducing our presence in New York,” said Mancini, a Queens resident. “We will make the reductions in a way that will not reduce the quality of the paper. We are not talking about cleaning house here.” But he would not offer more specifics about cutbacks, saying “It is too soon for me to answer that question.”

Mancini’s time with Newsday, off and on, dates back nearly 25 years, according to the paper. After joining the Long Island daily in 1980 as an editorial assistant, Mancini left for several years before returning in 1985 and eventually becoming city editor of New York Newsday before it shutdown nine years ago. After that, he held newsroom positions at The New York Times, New York Post, and Long Island Voice before returning to Newsday in 2001 as assistant managing editor for New York City news.

When asked to describe his approach to newspapering, Mancini said. “You’ve got to be as bold as possible with the staff you have.”

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