Tuesday, January 25, 2022

SN general manager resigns after six years

November 8, 2000

Berl Schwartz, who’s served as State News general manager since 1994, resigned Tuesday citing differences with the paper’s board of directors.

The resignation, which is effective Nov. 21, leaves the board preparing to launch a search to replace Schwartz, a Lansing resident who will remain an assistant instructor in the School of Journalism.

Boardmember John Hicks said the board thanks Schwartz, 53, for his efforts with The State News.

“He did an amicable job serving as the general manager,” he said.

Schwartz was unavailable for comment Tuesday, but in his letter of resignation thanked the board for “the opportunity to serve an organization for which I will always have great respect and fondness.”

He came to the paper after 25 years of experience in journalism. He served as Washington bureau chief for United Press International and as a Washington correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service and The Louisville Times. He also served as executive editor of the York Daily Record in Pennsylvania and The Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Carrie Thorn, another board member, said the board recognizes Schwartz’s efforts during the past years in making improvements at the paper. She said he introduced color, expanded the paper to two sections and improved distribution.

The State News, under Schwartz’s leadership, is believed to have become the largest daily college newspaper in the country - printing more than 30,000 copies five days a week.

“We appreciate being able to work with him and all the improvements that he made,” Thorn said.

Thorn said the resignation was received Tuesday and everything happened very quickly.

David Miller, State News editor in chief, said he had suspicions as to what an impromptu Tuesday meeting would be about, but had no previous knowledge of the decision. He said many actions between the general manager and the board happen behind closed doors.

Miller said he is not concerned about the future of the paper and does not expect any significant changes to come from the resignation.

“I don’t think it is going to affect the newsroom operations,” he said. “The newsroom is independent of the general manager.”

Other staff members agree.

“We’ll do fine,” Advertising Manager Jacqueline Jankowski said.

Mary Sell, who two weeks ago was elected to serve as the 2001 editor in chief, believes there will be an adjustment period the staff will go through. But she said the paper will survive.

State News Advertising Adviser Marty Sprigg will serve as interim general manager. The board of directors, at its December meeting, is expected to decide how to search for a full-time replacement.

“I appreciate the confidence from the board that this is something I can do,” Sprigg said.

Sprigg has worked in the newspaper business for 20 years and has been at The State News for seven. She said she trusts the way the students run the paper and doesn’t plan on making any changes.

“All the students produce an excellent paper we should be proud of,” Sprigg said.

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