Thursday Oct 13 2011
Moving forward at the Journal
By: Jenifer Gee, Auburn Journal editor
What is going on at the Auburn Journal? It’s a fair question. And one that’s been asked by many community members of Journal staff members as we do our job of reporting on the news and events that make the Auburn area a great place to live, work and visit. Change in leadership is something that happens at all companies and organizations and we at the Journal are no exception. About six months ago Editor Deric Rothe took an extended leave of absence. Soon after, then-Journal publisher Tony Hazarian parted ways with the company. Both men were visible figures in the community and have remained so. Those of us remaining hunkered down and focused on producing a quality newspaper on a daily basis and honoring the privacy of employees. Six months later I can tell you that Deric and Tony have moved on and I will be taking on the editor position at the Auburn Journal. Todd Frantz has come aboard as publisher bringing with him a wealth of experience in community journalism, advertising sales and marketing. I started working for the Journal in January of 2008. I met Deric in the Roseville Press Tribune editor’s office. I had applied for a reporter position at that publication and he was part of a pool of managers who interviewed me all at once. I turned down the reporter job there because I didn’t feel it offered a step to grow and expand my experience and skills in the right direction for my career. The next day Deric called me and offered me a job as a reporter and paginator at the Journal. Since accepting that position, I’ve risen to being a full-time reporter covering crime and courts. I became news editor and now, the editor. It’s been an exciting and educational journey and Deric has been there every step of the way. There are tons of what we refer to as “Dericisms” in the office I could spout off — our integrity is always No. 1, finish strong, make sure your best art is always center to the top of a page — and each one has stuck with me as well as with many others in our newsroom. During Deric’s 14-year tenure as the leader of the Auburn Journal he accomplished great things for the newspaper. He’s led and molded issues of the Journal that have garnered numerous California Newspaper Publishers Association awards, including second for general excellence in 2009. It’s an honor the newspaper hadn’t received for quite some time before Deric arrived. Internally Deric was the driver to create a centralized pagination system. That means every Gold Country Media newspaper is created and edited at the Journal. It’s greatly improved the quality of all of our products including the Roseville Press Tribune, Placer Herald, Colfax Record, The Loomis News, the Lincoln News Messenger, and the El Dorado and Folsom Telegraphs. Outside of the newsroom, he’s sought ways to make Auburn a better place. In 1997 he founded and still leads today the Auburn Community Festival, which draws thousands to Recreation Park annually to celebrate the fall season. No matter your perception of Deric, your friendly conversations or heated arguments — many of which I have heard as a bystander — I think what’s certain is Deric treated everyone with fairness. At the end of the day, his passion was doing what was best for our readers. He’s truly lived in and cared about the Auburn community for more than a decade and I believe it shone through in the pages of the Journal. Before Deric went on leave in April, we had one of our many one-on-one conversations. “We’ve come a long way since that office in Roseville,” I recall him saying. It’s true. Deric has mentored me every step of the way and it’s for that I feel I can assume the role as editor of the Journal. I have big — very big — shoes to fill and I hope to do so in my own style, knowing that I have a solid foundation to work from thanks to Deric. As we complete our Journal team in the next few weeks with at least one new hire, I plan to make my way out into the community. I will be reaching out to service groups, networking with business owners and seeing firsthand some of the many events I’ve reported on or edited stories about with a new set of eyes and ears. I’m looking to find a place to call my own in Auburn so I can better understand and reflect the community in the Journal. Call me, e-mail or stop by and say hello. I hope to get to know Auburn day by day and provide you with a publication that truly embodies the community spirit. Our readers can look for regular updates from me and our publisher over the next few Sundays to keep you informed on the changes and improvements coming to the Journal and seeking your input on ways to make your newspaper better. Both Todd and I look forward to this dialogue. Finally, good luck, Deric. We’ll catch you on the river.