Thursday, June 9, 2016

Sharpen that pencil! Essay winner will become owner of Vermont newspaper

Intersting exit strategy.
From the Boston Globe:
When Ross Connelly “croaks,” he doesn’t want it to be in front of a computer screen while he’s trying to make the deadline for next week’s newspaper.

So the 70-year-old is offering to pass the torch and give away The Hardwick Gazette, a weekly newspaper nestled in the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont that he’s owned for 30 years, to the person who writes the most compelling essay explaining why they’re deserving of running his cherished publication.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years, but I’m having another birthday this weekend,” said Connelly. “I just know that I no longer have the energy that the newspaper needs and the readers deserve.”

Connelly, who first dove into the industry as a reporter at several publications in Massachusetts after getting his master’s degree at Boston University in the early 1980s, purchased the paper with his late wife, Susan Jarzyna, in 1986. The couple sold their home in Chatham during a “real estate bubble,” he said, and settled in Vermont to run the newspaper, which has a paid circulation of about 2,200 and covers Hardwick and nine surrounding communities.

Ready to retire just a few years after his wife passed away, Connelly said finding a new owner was part of a larger plan to “downsize” his lifestyle.

“It’s going to be a change, but it needs to happen,” he said by telephone Wednesday.

The contest runs from June 11 through Aug. 11, or until the maximum number of entries are received. Connelly said he hopes to draw enough interest from the public that he and a panel of judges will need to sift through 1,889 essays — a number that reflects the year the newspaper was first published.
Entrants will need to cough up $175 — if 1,889 people step up, Connelly stands to make $330,575 — and craft a 400-word essay detailing how they plan to keep afloat a print publication in the age of the Internet....MORE