During the Snowpocalypse in February 2010, the York Daily Record/Sunday News did not follow its customary digital first strategy. In fact, it was digital only. With no power at its company offices, the York Daily Record/Sunday News newsroom staff gathered news and fed its various digital sites from a Holiday Inn conference room in West Manchester Township. Journalists moved back to their Loucks Road newsroom at roughly 8 p.m. to concentrate on the newspaper. Oh yes, they made the YDR’s 12:35 a.m. print deadline. Read more: York County newspaper staff powers coverage through blizzard, electrical shutdown.
A change in publishers at the York Daily Record doesn’t happen every day.
That’s great for continuity and the community.
In fact, only nine publishers have led YDR and The Gazette and Daily operations since 1915.
So, when a change at the top happens, it’s a significant news event.
That happened last week when Sara Glines became No. 9 in the past 97 years, taking the place of Fred Uffelman, who is retiring after holding the position for eight years.
The publisher is our CEO or general manager, the person in charge of our organization, the No. 1 source of news and information in and about York County.
The publisher delegates authority to various department heads — the editor in the newsroom or the advertising vice president in the ad department. But the publisher oversees our operation of about 300 employees.
The person whose name is at the top of the newspaper masthead hasn’t always gone by that title.
J.W. Gitt, for example, was listed as editor and treasurer late in his 55-year tenure ending in 1970. But no one questioned who was in charge.
Since the end of Gitt’s long reign, the York Daily Record has faced several crucial moments of transition, apart from the various newsroom moves to new sites and restructuring of operations into a joint operating agreement. (It would take 10 columns to explain the JOA.)
In 1973, for example, the newspaper moved to a new suburban plant, changed its appearance, adjusted its size and introduced color printing on an offset press.
A decade later, the newspaper introduced computers in the newsroom, business and circulation areas. With that major move, our operation moved from a mechanical emphasis to the early stages of digital.
Then in 1996, that terrible blizzard that we all remember hurried up a hinge point. Ice and snow drifts prohibited newspaper delivery, so our newsroom put out the news via a medium then in its public infancy: the Internet.
This digital delivery of the news accelerated in the past eight years, coinciding with and benefiting from Fred Uffelman’s tenure as publisher.
In recent years, our newsroom has capitalized on the growth of digital — ydr.com, gametimepa.com and Facebook and Twitter — which has revolutionized the way we gather, prioritize and deliver the news.
We’ve been steadily building online audiences that our advertising reps can then sell, no different from what newspapers have been doing for decades with print audiences.
The revolution is known in our industry as digital first.
As I wrote in a recent YDR Insider blog post:
Digital first does not mean print last, or that the newspaper is unimportant. It means print has its place in a continuous newsgathering cycle.
Basically, this strategy is wrapped around the concept: “When we know it, you know it.”
When we hear about breaking news, we post it to the Web and let people know through social media that it’s there.
Deploying such workflows did not mean that we diminished our newspaper.
A newsroom just gets better because we have introduced an element of immediacy that makes everyone sharper and operating on a fine edge.
We simply publish first digitally and then take that good content and put it into print.
With this digital re-orientation, we won Newspaper of the Year in Pennsylvania in 2011, which includes mostly print and some digital categories.
Six months ago, we came under Digital First Media’s corporate umbrella.
DFM wasn’t new to us. We had been studying its playbook for months in learning how to introduce immediacy into our workflows.
Working directly with the DFM folks since September, our newsroom has found that they’ve given us a vocabulary to more effectively converse and think in a digital first world.
They’ve made us aware of wonderful digital tools and, most importantly, noticed our advancements and encouraged us onward.
All this brings us to Sara Glines, publisher No. 9. We’ve known Sara for about eight years. She often came to York as the corporate leader aiding our transition of advertising and editorial resources into the digital world.
So Sara is a natural fit as publisher, as we’re accelerating introduction of digital products — introduction of additional mobile apps, new content on our websites and whatever is next.
It’s noteworthy that Sara started her career in the newsroom, spending a decade as a journalist with the San Francisco Examiner. She then expanded her work to the advertising side, overseeing digital sales in the eastern part of the United States for MediaNews Group.
Interestingly, Fred Uffelman started on the business side — in circulation and later advertising sales before entering general management.
Working for Fred was an editor’s dream. He has all the instincts of a journalist: understanding of his community, listening skills, inquisitiveness and courage.
As I told him, he has become a great journalist.
York Daily Record/Gazette and
Daily publishers since 1915
J.W. Gitt: 1915-1970
Harold N. Fitzkee Jr.: 1970-1973
Jimmy Scoggins: 1973-1978
David Martens: 1978-1982
Kaj Spencer: 1982-1990
Berl Schwartz: 1990
Dennis Hetzel: 1990-2004
Fred Uffelman: 2004-2012
Sara Glines: 2012-
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