Friday January 18, 2013

DAWSON RASPUZZI

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- The Bennington Banner welcomed new Editor Michelle Karas to the newsroom this week, filling a vacancy created by James Therrien's departure in December.

Karas came to Bennington seeking a new challenge after 13 years of experience as an award winning writer and editor for newspapers and magazines. She has worked the past seven years as business editor of The Mercury, a daily newspaper in Pottstown, Pa., with a circulation of 20,000.

"I'm excited to be making this announcement today. Back in November, Michelle spent several days with me in the Bennington community. She met several of our community leaders and attended a couple of business meetings with me while she was here. The feedback from the people she met was very positive," Banner Publisher Edward Woods said.

Karas, a Boalsburg, Pa., native with a journalism degree from the Pennsylvania State University, said she felt at home during those meetings with area business and government leaders.

"Immediately I liked Bennington. I think Bennington is quaint, kind of a beautiful little town," Karas said. "I met a lot of quality people when I was here. I felt comfortable here."

One of her priorities will be to continue getting a feel for the dynamic of the greater Bennington area and the people in it. She is also welcoming feedback about the Banner.

"My philosophy of the newspaper is it is a reflection of the readers. I fully expect and will welcome reader feedback, good or bad," Karas said. "If somebody doesn't like something, or they do like something, I like to know about it. I'd like to be accessible to anyone who'd like to voice their opinion to me or offer a story idea."

Karas also brings a drive to evolve the Banner by creating a greater digital presence -- a trend Digital First Media papers are moving toward around the country.

"We need to try to get the news out in as many ways as we can and as quickly as we can," Karas said.

The Banner has increased its online presence in recent years through its Website and social media, but Woods said the energy Karas brings with her will be an asset to continue bringing the paper into the digital age.

"Because Michelle comes to us from another Digital First Media property, she understands the digital transformation that is happening in our industry. As she brings that understanding to the Banner newsroom, I'm glad to have Michelle on my team."

Prior to her most recent responsibilities as business editor -- during which time she received awards from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Foundation and Suburban Newspapers of America -- Karas has also been a reporter for The Mercury and a copy editor for TV Guide Magazine.

Karas may be reached in the newsroom by phone at 447-7567 ext. 110 or email at mkaras@benningtonbanner.com or on Twitter @BannerEditor.