Newspaper veteran Alan English named publisher of the Bennington Banner
PITTSFIELD, Mass. - Alan English, a newspaper industry veteran, was named publisher of New England Newspapers Inc. on Monday.
The company publishes The Berkshire Eagle and the Bennington Banner, Brattleboro Reformer and Manchester Journal in Vermont.
New England Newspapers President Fredric D. Rutberg introduced English to employees gathered in The Eagle newsroom on Monday morning.
"This is exciting for me to join you all," said English, who turns 52 on Dec. 15. "I'm truly honored to have the opportunity to be part of shepherding in a new era for The Bennington Banner.
"I can't thank Fred and the other owners enough to have me join this mission."
English most recently served as president and publisher of The Shreveport Times in Louisiana, following a stint as its general manager and executive editor. A native of Harrisburg, Pa., who attended high school in Tennessee, English also has held executive positions at newspapers in Arkansas, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Tennessee. Three of those papers are members of the Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper chain.
New England Newspapers was purchased in May by four investors, three of them local residents, who have emphasized returning the newspaper to its local roots and making it the best community newspaper group in the country.
"Alan was a unanimous choice of all of us," said Rutberg, a member of the ownership group.
English succeeds acting Publisher Martin Langeveld, who assumed the position when the former publisher, Edward L. Woods, stepped down in early July.
Langeveld will remain a member of the company's board of directors. The search to find a permanent replacement for Woods took five months, Rutberg said.
English has been involved in several innovative projects throughout his journalism career. He was recognized in Gannett for social media and sports coverage initiatives, and helped develop a mobile platform that included an interactive text messaging strategy to cover the Masters Tournament when he served as executive editor and vice president of audience at the Augusta Chronicle in Georgia.
The new ownership group's mission to make NENI the best group of community newspapers in the country is what attracted him to this job.
"I chose to come here because of what I saw," English said. "This is by far one of the most unique, rare opportunities in the community newspaper world. ... It didn't take long for me to decide that this is the opportunity that I want."
Judi Terzotis, the regional president of Gannett's Gulf Group, eight Southern newspapers that include The Shreveport Times, described English as a "roll-up-the-sleeves-kind of guy."
"He's truly invested in the success of his employees and the community and he's committed to that," Terzotis said. "He's the exact opposite of somebody you would see sitting behind a desk glued to a computer. You're going to love that he's hands on but not in a micromanaging way. He's about 'How can I make the operation as successful as I can?' He makes sure the lives of the people in his community are stronger.
"I think he is perfectly suited" to carry out the new ownership group's mission, Terzotis said. "I can't imagine a better person to do that. He wants to build readership the right way, not through click views or eye-catching headlines."
Rutberg said English's work ethic made him stand out from the other candidates who were interviewed.
"He's analytical and seems to enjoy and be successful in solving problems," he said. "An articulate leader; that's what we need."
English said he comes from a "newspaper family." He met his wife, Janice Rowley, when the couple worked at a newspaper in Passaic, N.J.
He originally majored in microbiology at the University of Tennessee. But after becoming interested in journalism, English transferred to Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y., where he graduated with a bachelor's in photojournalism in 1987.
The first four positions he held in the newspaper industry were photography positions, including photo editor jobs at newspapers in New York, New Jersey and North Carolina.
English has two children. His daughter attends Champlain College in Burlington, Vt.; his son is a high school junior in Shreveport.
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