PUBLISHER’S DESK: Putting a newspaper career to bed
Publisher says she will miss her newspaper family after retirement
COVID-19 delayed a lot of plans. For me, it was delaying retirement by four months so we could adjust to the new normal and move forward. After 47 years at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and Lake Placid News, my last day will be Friday, Aug. 14.
The timing is good, because this is a time when we are all seeing things from a new perspective, and I’m sure the next publisher to take over will have fresh and innovative ideas.
As in any business, there isn’t much time to reflect since every day is a new act of juggling and spinning plates in the air. With the COVID pause, it actually gave me time to reflect on my many years and the wonderful opportunities I have experienced and the great people I have met. It also made me realize that time has flown by quickly, and now is the time to enjoy the next chapter of my life.
My first introduction to Saranac Lake was when I was standing in Bill Grogan’s Coach and Four bar with a beer in my hand saying, “I love this place; I never want to leave.” (I meant the area, not the bar.) Coincidentally, the following year it became the home of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, and where I stood that night was to be my office for most of my life as publisher. Bill Doolittle bought the building and installed the first offset printing press, leaving the old hot lead press behind at the former location on Main Street, where Origin Coffee now occupies.
Circulation Manager Jim Bishop hired me to work in the circulation department. Unemployment was high back in 1973, and I was so grateful he hired me after reading the classified ad in the Enterprise for “assistant circulation manager.” (A great title for counting tons of coins from the news carriers.) I trudged through snowbanks in a dress and heels to be interviewed by Jim, and to my surprise, he hired me. He would joke that the only reason he hired me is that I was left-handed like him.
Over the years, I learned a lot, saw a lot and met a lot of great people. I saw the newspaper transform from the industrial age to the electronic age. When I first started, it was pencil and paper, rotary phones, typewriters, horizontal camera, addressograph, film and flash bulbs. The most exciting moments were the introduction of the copier, fax, computer, cellphone and color printing. No more carpal-tunnel typing over letters and dialing on a rotary phone.
Most of the progress was under owner, editor and publisher Bill Doolittle. He encouraged me and mentored me to learn every aspect of the newspaper business. I owe a great deal of gratitude to him and my career. After he sold the newspaper to Ogden Nutting and his family, he told me he searched for the right people to buy the paper, and they were it. He said Ogden was a man of his word and trusted him to do what was best for the company. Ogden bought the Enterprise and Lake Placid News prior to the 1980 Winter Olympics and invested so much in this newspaper to be ready for covering the 1980 Olympics. Bill was right; I found Ogden to be a trustworthy man who genuinely cared about his employees like family. Those same traits have been passed down to the next generation with his two sons Bob and Bill and his granddaughter Cameron.
My earlier Enterprise family, while starting in my 20s, was like my adopted parents. They were the elders who gave me guidance and support as we celebrated every milestone together. While they have all passed away, I owe them a wealth of gratitude for the opportunities and lessons they gave me. These bright souls who inspired me were Armand Amell, Dave Munn, Fred Charland, Evelyn Outcault, Don Renadette, Dave Hunter, Bill McLaughlin, and Joe and Bea Drutz.
This position has given me an amazing and memorable life with meeting so many interesting people. I’ve met many famous and some infamous people, from movie stars to governors. That wouldn’t be possible if not working for a newspaper. However, I found the most important people I have met have been the ones who have supported our newspapers, the Lake Placid News and the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. Without them advertising and subscribing and believing in their community newspapers, we might not exist today. Newspapers have survived through the changes over the years because we stand firm and focus on serving our communities like our families. We care, we are trusted, and we watch out for you by arming you with facts so you can learn and fight injustices and be prepared for whatever comes your way, just like family.
I wanted to stick around for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise’s 125th anniversary and celebrate all its milestones, as can be found in our anniversary special. (It can be found on our website by clicking the bar that says “Special Sections/Guides.”) The changes are amazing, but the coverage is still about you and the community: local news, sports, obituaries, fire/police calls, elections, opinion, events, and the milestones from our youth to our elders. Not just news — we offer features, puzzles, comics, arts and entertainment, TV listings, classifieds, real estate, and coupons that more than pay for a subscription.
I’d like to see newspapers grow, as we have seen this year with keeping people in touch locally with the global pandemic and other important issues. Without a community newspaper, it has been shown that voting declines, corruption flourishes, taxes increase, the historical record ceases, and businesses shrink. I believe this will never happen here because the people in our communities are engaged and informed through the newspaper to work passionately to discuss and find solutions on the issues that affect us all.
As I leave my position at the paper, I’m proud to say it is in the good hands of experienced and qualified hard-working people. They have made our news media what it is today: resilient, engaging and relevant. They believe what they do has purpose and that their work at the newspaper can bring about important change in the communities it covers. I’m thankful to each department and every person for the role they play, from the front office to the delivery carriers with the most important job. If they don’t deliver it, then all our work is done for nothing. Every employee here works so hard, I think they took my joke seriously when I’d say, “If you don’t have chest pains, you’re not working hard enough.” Let them know their hard work pays off by subscribing or running an ad — not as a parting gift for me, but to benefit yourself and the community.
While I will miss the daily phone calls, emails and encounters with you, I will still know what you are doing by reading the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and the Lake Placid News. My parting pitch to subscribe is, “If you didn’t read it here, it didn’t happen.” After all, if you didn’t read the paper, how would you have known about the monkey on the loose last week?
Again, thanks to you all, and I hope to see you around, but don’t take it personally if I don’t recognize you since you are wearing a mask.
(Catherine Moore lives in Saranac Lake, has worked for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise since 1973 and has been publisher of the Enterprise and Lake Placid News since 1989. Her 31 years as publisher is tied with John Ridenour for the longest leadership term in the Enterprise’s 125-year history.)