Sunday, March 29, 2009

What would Bob and Nancy Maynard do?

Could those who are trying to save the Chronicle learn something from the history of the Oakland Tribune?

Former Trib managing editor Eric Newton recalls his years working for Bob and Nancy Maynard (pictured) from 1984 to 1992, and how they stopped the paper from closing.
    During the 20th century in America, more than 1,000 daily newspapers closed. The Oakland Tribune was not among them. The Maynards saved it. They found a nonprofit to invest in it and made a deal with a buyer to continue it.

    When I heard the great newspaper editor John Carroll say that corporate ownership models were no longer working, I thought to myself: I know a guy who said that 20 years ago. Bob and Nancy bought a newspaper from the Gannett Company and turned it, however fleetingly, into a family-owned paper.

    Bob's prostate cancer came back. It was clear that he would die — the last thing and by far the worst thing he would do before his time. A final hope was that Oakland's newspaper would live to fight another day. And it does.
[MORE] (Photo credit: AP file, Olga Shalygin)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not to take anything away from the Maynards' accomplishments, but Gannett certainly gave them a helping hand.

Bill said...

They were the best publishers I worked for in my 40 years ne3wspapering. Anyone who helped them out also benefited journalism. Bob was a class act who was dealt an incredibly bad hand. The only fault I ever found in Bob Maynard is that he wasn't born wealthy. Quite the opposite, which makes his story even more remarkable.
--Bill Mann

Shannon Bryony said...

Oh, Eric, you excerpted your longer piece on the Poynter site. Bob Maynard deserved a little more originality than that.

Shannon Bryony