Vin Crosbie's Personal Blog

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My Family Ending 140 Years as Daily Newspaper Publishers

With nostalgia and some sadness, my family today announced that after 140 years, it’s leaving the newspaper business on May 1st. The daily Chronicle of Willimantic, Connecticut, founded by my step-great-great-grandfather John A. MacDonald in 1877, will be sold at the end of next month to Central Connecticut Communications, the owners of the New Britain Herald and the Bristol Press, two other Connecticut dailies. Following John MacDonald, my great-grandfather George Augustus Bartlett, grandfather G. Donald Bartlett, mother Lucy Bartlett Crosbie, brother Kevin Bartlett Crosbie, and my sister-in-law Patrice Pernaselli Crosbie have in turn, generally after the death of their predecessor, published the paper every day since that week when John founded it — during which Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India, Chief Crazy Horse was fighting the U.S. cavalry, and President Ulysses Grant was ordering home the last federal troops occupying the former Confederate states. We have been the oldest newspaper family in New England. My father Arthur W. Crosbie was the newspaper’s general manager during the middle of the 20th Century. I worked there during the 1970’s, and had grown up in a multi-generational household where the news business and substance of newspaper editorials were dinner table conversation. When I started in the business, we still melted lead to make that day’s printing type (a slug of which, pictured above, I’ve kept from those days) and the newspaper received international and national news via rolls of one-inch (2.5 cm) wide paper tape punched in teletype code. Fire and police radio monitors sat besides our TV. The daily deadlines made it both a satisfying and frustrating occupation. One hard to let go. Yet Facebook friends who have known me as a news industry futurists/consultant from 1996 onward (and as well since 2008 as Syracuse University’s postgraduate instructor in the New Media Business) will know from my professional and trade journal writings and speeches during the past 15 years that newspaper publishing, with quite rare exceptions, is now an unsustainable business due to epochal changes in how and why people consume news, entertainment, and other information. Times change. Business life cycles end. And we’re closing our 140-year story. #

Kevin Crosbie (1960-2012)

From The Chronicle, Willimantic, Connecticut, April 18, 2012: WILLIMANTIC-Chronicle Publisher Kevin Crosbie suffered a heart attack and died in his home Tuesdoy. He was 52. tn the aftermath of h1s untimely death, friends and colleagues remembered him for the. person he was behind the title—a famity man, a constant in the community, an ally, an athlete and a very good fnend. News of Crosb1e’s passing moved quickly through the community. Windham town offices Tuesday honored Crosbie with a moment of silence before the town council meeting, expressing shock and disbelief that such a prominent member of the community was gone. Crosbie was remembered 1n many ways, not the least of wh1ch was for h1s forthrightness and honesty. “If he liked something, he’d tell you. If he didn’t like something, he’d tell you that too,”said Windham Mayor Ernest Eldridge. “Kevin and l didn’t travel on the same orbit but l considered hom my good friend.” Condolences poured into the Chronicle Tuesday from newspaper heads around the state who knew Crosb1e professionally and personally “Kevin was a dedicated journalist and worked diligently to preserve community newspaperingin central Connecticut. He was committed to do1ng what was right in every situation and I took away new ideas from each conversation I had with him. The news media will be much weaker in this state with the loss of Kevin,” said Michael Schroeder, pres1dent of the Bristol Press. Crosbie was a hands·on publisher and ever present in the newsroom, operating at times out of nothing more grandiosethan a cubicle in the corner. He was the go-to person for just about everything and would just as soon climb a ladder to change a light bulb as put on a jacket and sit down with the governor-as he d1d recently when Gov. Dannel P. Malloy paid a visit to the Chronicle. “Kevin was a soup to nuts guy,” said former Chronicle features editor Terese Karmel. “At m1dnight he’d be at the paper, in jeans and a sweatshirt, ironing out some printing problems with the Daily Campus production editors and then that night, he’d be in a gray suitand be hosting a Chamber of Commerce dinner.” Chronicle photographer AI Molpa said Crosbie treated everyone -no matter his or her lot -the same “There was no hierarchy with him,” said Malpa, who described Crosb1e as a forward thinker, always drumming up innovative ways to make the paper better. His business savvy ways and […]