By: Joe Strupp
The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. has named Richard Vezza, president of Penn Jersey Advance, as its new publisher, the paper reported on its Web site Tuesday.
Vezza will add the Star-Ledger responsibilities to his current position. Both the Star-Ledger and Penn Jersey Advance, a chain of weeklies and three New Jersey dailies, are owned by Advance Publications.
He told E&P Tuesday he saw few major changes ahead for the paper, at least in the near future. He comes in a year after the daily cut about one-third of its newsroom through a large buyout.
“The No. 1 thing on my agenda is to go over there and learn, become more familiar with the paper,” he said. “The aim is to try and find ways to improve it.”
He said no plans are likely for a major Web expansion at the moment, or any print downsizing: “It is critical for us to have a strong presence online and in print. I don’t think one without the other is successful.”
He added that, despite its big cutbacks in recent years, the Star-Ledger “is not far from getting itself stable and growing again.”
Vezza replaces George Arwady, who has been the Star-Ledger’s publisher since 2004. Vezza’s appointment comes just two months after the Star-Ledger named Kevin Whitmer editor, replacing the retiring Jim Willse.
Arwady will assume the duties of publisher of The Republican of Springfield, Mass. Larry McDermott, publisher of The Republican, is retiring on Dec. 31, the story said.
“Vezza is a life-long New Jersey resident, who began his journalism career in 1974 as a night police reporter for The Hudson Dispatch in Hudson County,” the story said. “Over the years, Vezza has worked as an editor and publisher at a number of New Jersey daily newspapers, including the Herald & News of Passaic County and The Daily Journal in Union County.”
In 2000, Vezza joined The Star-Ledger’s sister company, Penn Jersey Advance, as its president. Penn Jersey Advance publishes three dailies in southern New Jersey, The Express-Times in Easton, Pa., and weeklies in Union, Somerset, Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey.