Home' Local Media Today : November 2007 Contents NOVEMBER 2007
MENTORING, LEADERSHIP AND LESSONS IN LIFE
For those that haven’t heard, Bob Jelenic, long-time CEO of Journal Register
Company is stepping down on November 1. He had been on medical leave and
is currently battling a second fight with cancer. He will now focus all of his
energy on his recovery.
I started working directly for Bob in the fall of
1993 when he promoted me to my first publish-
er’s position. I was 28 years old and he gave me
the opportunity of a lifetime. Over the next seven
years the lessons that I learned could fill a book.
Bob’s reputation is legendary at JRC; he was
tough and many did not understand that. He also
was one of the hardest-working CEO’s in the
industry and he cared about the business more
than anyone I know.
With Bob, you always knew where you stood.
He was black and white. There were no
company politics. I think it is important to
always let your employees know where you
stand on issues and be crystal clear. As the
leader, you can’t be wishy-washy or vague.
When things looked gloomy, like your ad
director quit the day after your editor quit,
Bob would not tolerate a negative attitude. He
would say “The sun will come up tomorrow.”
When things get stressful, I always tell our
team that phrase. For Bob, I think it meant –
deal with it; life goes on; it will get better. He
was not one to dwell on the challenge at hand;
he would attack the problem and move on.
As CEO, Bob also delved into tremendous detail. Nothing was beneath him.
When he visited your operation, you better not have a dirty pressroom floor or
an outdated house ad running in the paper. Yes, both those things happened to
me. His point was that the publisher must inspect everything. To this day, no
detail is too small for me. No job is beneath me. It’s a great lesson in life and
your employees will have more respect for you.
Bob used sports analogies a lot. I’m a sports nut so this was effective for me.
He was the ultimate captain of the team and every day you were at the plate in
the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs and the bases loaded. You were expected to
bring your “A” game every day.
People were always intimidated by Bob but not me. We didn’t agree on every-
thing and even had some memorable debates. You could do that with Bob.
Every once in a while he would change his mind after one of our debates. He
would listen and that is another important quality of a strong leader.
I’m a better leader today because of working for Bob Jelenic. He taught me
toughness for sure. He instilled a strong work ethic. He believed in me when I
was 28 years old. And so I’m sad to hear the news about Bob stepping down.
And I know if he is reading this, he is already saying, for goodness sake
Nancy, the sun will come up tomorrow. Bob is a fighter and I know he is giv-
ing his battle with cancer everything he has – which is a lot. The captain of the
team will prevail and I look forward to having a chardonnay with him some-
time soon. Bob, from all of us that you believed in and promoted over the
years – a heartfelt thanks and best wishes!
From the sna
partnering with The Poynter Institute on
this important new community journal-
ism e-training initiative. In keeping with
the SNA Foundation’s mission, this e-
learning will be specifically designed to
help local journalists make the transfor-
mation in a digital world to best serve
their communities’ future news and
In other news, The SNA Foundation
seeks continuing contributions to fund
its’ initiatives and had another record-
breaking year with the combined silent
auction and online auction at the Fall
Publishers’ & Ad Directors’ conference
held last month in Philadelphia. The
foundation raised more than $17,000, a
double digit increase over the previous
record-shattering results in 2006.
Director Karol welcomes your com-
ments and contributions! She is reached
-continued from page 1
BID EARLY & OFTEN! That’s what SNA Foundation Executive Director Susan Karol,
right, told the crowd repeatedly at the silent auction held last month at the Fall
Conference in Philadelphia. Conference chair Ryan Duques and SNA President Nancy Lane
have reason to smile as Karol announced during the 70’s themed banquet that the
Foundation earned over $17,000 in auction pledges that night.
When things looked
gloomy, like your ad
director quit the day
after your editor quit,
Bob would not tolerate
a negative attitude. He
would say “The sun will
come up tomorrow.”
Great Ideas shared on
recent conference call
A brief recap from last month’s call:
Kathy Schwartz, Director of Internet
Operations at the Pocono (PA) Record,
was the first place winner on the call.
The Pocono Record folks decided to
“join” rather than try to “lick” major
search engines by selling enhanced direc-
tory listings packaged with a push up to
Google and other major search engine
results. Schwartz pointed out what contin-
ues to be a plus for our suburban and
community newspaper members – the
familiarity with and feet-on-the-street
capability of local newspaper reporters
and sales staff.
Sara Wilhelm, Advertising Manager at
The Lawrence (KS) Journal-World,
earned the second place prize for the
paper’s online Marketplace. This 20,000-
circulation newspaper has boosted its
business-directory ad sales through free
basic listings for all area businesses and
by harnessing the ad sales capabilities of
inside, outside and affiliated TV staff to
Matt Hayes, President and Publisher of
Rhode Island’s East Bay Newspapers,
took 3rd place for the group’s Trick My
Ride auto trick-out contest. Local readers
submitted photos of their ugly vehicles
online to compete for a makeover by
local auto detail and repair
sponsors. Lots of traffic
East Bay’s contest agen-
da:a similar home
Helen Powers, VP of
Sales at the Meadville
(Pa) Tribune, detailed
three programs: the paper’s print and
online Call A Pro Service Directory;
PennAutos – an aggregated auto site of
vehicle advertising from all CNHI news-
paper sites in PA; and its full, half and
quarter page ad auction.
Nick Smith, Web Editor of Tucson
Arizona’s Explorer Newspapers, told the
IMA audience about the incremental traf-
fic gain for his papers through the cre-
ation of its YouTube viral video page.
Peter Comings, online media manager
for the Gaylord (MI) Herald Times,
focused on his group’s user-generated
products. MiSeasons.com is a one-year
old umbrella site for three area publica-
tions with several user-generated elements
wikis, blogs and forums.
Roger Will, New Media Business
Development Manager for American
Community Newspapers, shared the suc-
cess of online photos at ACN’s
See page 15 for upcoming call dates &
topics. Not yet an IMA member? Contact
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