By Corrin Strong
It's lonely at the top. For the last six weeks,
I have had to keep the fact that I was negotiating the sale
of The Clarion secret from absolutely everyone. I hope the reasons
for that are obvious.
Until papers were actually signed last week, there was no certainty
that a deal would be made. I had to retain the option to walk
away from the table and continue publishing. Any rumor that
the paper was for sale would have greatly injured our standing
in the marketplace and our ability to survive as a going concern.
I apologize for the deception, but while the negotiations were
in progress it was necessay to maintain the appearance of business
as usual. Accordingly, I did not tell any of my employees until
just the last few days before this final issue. Loose lips sink
ships! I realize this may have caused my employees to make promises
to our customers that we now can not keep. I regret that, but
if it upsets you, blame me, not them. If you are an advertiser,
who paid in advance, a refund check is in the mail. If you are
a subscriber your remaining subscription will be honored by
the LC News.
I would like to apologize to my employees for the deception.
I'm sure they are in shock at the suddenness of this announcement,
not to mention the loss of their jobs. Although we will continue
to operate the Clarion Copy Center, we obviously will not have
need for the same level of staffing.
I'm sorry for the difficulties this will cause people who have
all been loyal and hard-working employees for many years, but
the truth is that I continued publishing The Clarion a lot longer
than was good for my own financial (and mental) health.
The economics of having two weekly newspapers in this small
of a market never did make much sense. I figured that out a
long time ago when I began comparing notes with other publishers
around the state. To have two papers in a town as small as Geneseo,
although a great boon to readers, is practically unheard of.
The Clarion and the News have gone head to head since they were
both founded within a week of each other in 1989. About five
years ago I approached Harold Johnson and tried to buy the Livingston
County News. We don't sell newspapers, we buy them,
Harold told me. Earlier this year I decide the time was right
to pursue that idea.
In making this decision I also had to take a hard look at my
future. Although my health is good now, it was hard to see how
the paper could have survived even a minor health crisis for
me. With the tight staffing that we could afford, there was
simply no margin for error.
It also became clear that none of my four children had any interest
in getting into the business. I can't blame them, the newspaper
business is not easy, and I would never try to force them to
do something that they didn't want to do.
Despite leaving the business, however, I still believe in the
importance of the role that local newspapers play in the community.
The strength of a community is directly related to the strength
of the local community newspaper. I hope all Clarion readers
will support the Livingston County News as they carry on the
fine tradition of Livingston County journalism. I plan to.
And so, as I write these, my last official words for The Clarion,
I want to thank all the readers and advertisers who have supported
us over the years. It has been a lot of fun having a front row
seat on the many exciting stories in this wonderful community.
I'm sure I'll miss it when the next big story breaks, but I
leave without regrets.
Well, maybe just one. In the fullness of time, I have come to
regret my support for the first Wal-Mart. Although I thought
it was a good thing at the time because it would recapture sales
tax for the county, I never foresaw that it would eventually
morph into the monstrosity of a Super-Center.
Nor did I foresee the attempted invasion of other Big Boxes
that even now are threatening to overrun our small town with
traffic and sprawl. I will continue to do my best to fight that
invasion and I hope you will all join me in that effort. Keep