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American Journalism Review
The Concord Monitor  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  Letters
From AJR,   August/September 2003

The Concord Monitor   

I wouldn't trade my three years at the Concord Monitor for anything ("A Special Place," May). Mike Pride helped me become the reporter I am today. But Stephanie Hanes' statement that low salaries were "pretty much a daily bitch," is understating the truth. We complained hourly about our low salaries. Nonetheless, what a great place to start a career.

Ben Schmitt
Reporter and Concord Monitor alumnus 1993-96
Detroit Free Press
Detroit, Michigan

Susan Q. Stranahan's intriguing story on the good journalism done at the Concord Monitor nonetheless buries some very salient information. A paper making a profit in excess of 20 percent ought to pay the help a lot better.

Reporters are starting at less than $25,000 a year. Even Editor Mike Pride, "cool" as he may otherwise be, admits it's hard to live on that in Concord. And just what does Mr. Pride make, I wonder?

The saddest part of the story, surely, is the 43-year-old reporter who reluctantly left the paper last year after 13 years. Couldn't own a house and have kids on whatever it was that he was getting paid. So now he's making $52,000 a year working for a nonprofit group. Sorry, but still not a lot of money.

The Monitor owes so much more to its dedicated staff. Paying them livable wages would no doubt make it an even better paper, and still quite profitable.

Jim McGrath
Chief editorial writer
Albany Times Union
Albany, New York

I was happy to see your article on the Concord Monitor and have no doubt that Mike Pride has done an excellent job running the paper. But the paper was a good one--the best in New Hampshire--many years before he arrived.

I got my first understanding of games accountants could play when the Monitor allowed me to thoroughly cover hearings before the state utility regulators on telephone company rate increases. When I was there in 1972-'74, the newsroom was run by Tom Gerber, the editor, and Bob Norling, the managing editor, with a commitment to quality and accuracy--and a lack of concern about who might be offended--of which I am still proud. George Wilson was the general manager when I arrived, and became publisher while I was there. Rod Paul, the senior reporter on the staff, taught me and many others how to cover state government and politics.

I recall one article, on which I did not work, that set out to assess the cleanliness of public restrooms in Concord. It concluded that the worst women's room was in the discount department store that was also the paper's largest advertiser. When the reporter called the store manager to inform him of that honor, he hung up on her. A few minutes later, Bob Norling got a call from the paper's advertising director, who told him that the store manager had threatened to pull his advertising if the article was published. Norling asked if the ad director was absolutely sure of what the man had said and then inserted that threat into the article, which ran on the front page.

Floyd Norris
Chief financial correspondent
New York Times
New York, New York



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