Exactly a year ago, I was debating a move to State College. Over the course of two weekends, my family and I drove north along Interstate 99 while the countryside was ablaze with the glories of fall — and decided to move from Maryland.
Two months later, in the middle of a January snowstorm, we settled into a house we love in Lemont. New neighbors, new job, new friends, new teachers — all of that I looked forward to, and expected.
It was what spring brought that took me by surprise: the chance to hire a new leadership team for the Centre Daily Times. I wasn’t planning on bringing so many new faces to the CDT so soon, but I looked at every opening as an opportunity. Building your own team is a privilege — and one I hope readers will benefit from.
In the past few months, I’ve hired John Boogert as our executive editor, Glenn Dana as our audience (aka circulation) director, and Erik Brown as our finance director. Including my job as president and publisher, that’s four of the six top spots at the paper filled with new ideas and energy.
Rounding out the team are two of the best professionals I’ve ever worked with: Advertising Director Janet Santostefano and Human Resources Director Karen Mrsa. Many readers already know these two, both of whom are quite involved in our community. I hope you’ll know the rest of us soon.
Two of my team’s top priorities are connecting with more readers, and improving customer service. We’ve made progress on both fronts, I’m happy to report, but we know there’s more work to be done.
That’s where I’m hoping many of you will help us.
We’d like to get to know more of you. To kick that off, we plan to host a few informal coffee talks with a dozen or so readers each time. These coffees won’t have formal agendas but will be opportunities to discuss journalism, the paper’s role in Centre County and more. If you’re interested, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and put “coffee” in the subject line. You can also send us a note by mail to my attention at 3400 E. College Ave., State College, PA 16801.
We’ve also created a Reader Advisory Panel. By joining the panel — which you can do online at http://goo.gl/forms/6rYbXml1Dy — you’ll be able to tell us what you think about the CDT and help us understand the coverage issues that interest you. From time to time, you’ll be invited to participate in an online survey, emailed a single question, or invited to come into the CDT for small discussion groups on a specific topic.
The sole purpose of the Reader Advisory Panel is to have a team of folks we know are loyal readers who can provide feedback on ideas and help us improve the paper. We won’t share your information outside of our company, and your answers to our questions will remain confidential. Many people in Centre County have told me they’re rooting for the CDT in what they know are tough times for news media; this is your chance to a part of our success.
Finally, we’ll periodically be using this space — the Sunday Opinion page — as a place to let you know what we’re thinking and doing, how we’re connecting with readers and the community, and to react to the feedback you give us. Consider this column today the start of a conversation, and an introduction to the new team at the CDT.
Based on the warm welcome my family received when we arrived in Centre County, I’m looking forward to getting to know plenty more of you.