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Mark Travis, former Monitor reporter and editor, to take on publisher role in January

Mark Travis shakes hands with Concord Insider reporter Keith Testa after announcing that he will leave his job as the publisher of the Valley News to become the publisher of the Concord Monitor; Friday, December 14, 2012. 
(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

Mark Travis shakes hands with Concord Insider reporter Keith Testa after announcing that he will leave his job as the publisher of the Valley News to become the publisher of the Concord Monitor; Friday, December 14, 2012. (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

With the new year, the Monitor will be under new leadership. Longtime readers, however, will see a familiar name: Mark Travis.

Travis has been publisher of the Valley News in Lebanon since 2008, but he spent more than 20 years as a reporter, editor and shepherd of new projects at the Monitor starting in 1986.

John Winn Miller, who has served as publisher of the paper since 2010, announced his departure to staff yesterday in a company-wide meeting where he introduced Travis as his successor. Miller previously worked for news organizations across the United States and around the world.

“I tell everybody that this paper is a national treasure,” he said. “It’s really a top-notch organization that you can be really proud to work with, and that I’m proud of. . . . I’m sorry to leave, but I couldn’t possibly leave it in better hands.”

Travis began working for the Monitor as a stringer in the early 1980s, covering Pittsfield and working part-time at a lumber yard on Concord Heights. He said after the staff meeting he still remembers his first mistake as a reporter, involving Pittsfield’s then-fire Chief Fred Hast. He doesn’t remember the mistake itself, but said he still feels its effect.

“I realized it when the paper came out, which is always when you realize it, and I felt so terrible, I went to his house and knocked on his door and apologized,” Travis said. “That’s what you learn when you work at a paper like this. You learn accountability, because the people you write about aren’t strangers. They are people you’re gonna see at the supermarket, and that teaches some really good things about how to do journalism right.”

After working as a full-time reporter at the Valley News and the St. Petersburg Times in Florida, he returned as a full-time Monitor reporter. He went on to be the city editor, and later directed online operations, circulation and developed new projects including The Concord Insider.

After a 2002 Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University, where he attended classes on leadership and growing and running small businesses, he set his sights on becoming publisher of a newspaper, he said.

“It’s fun to try to write a story for the front page or try to decide what should be on the front page, but what I thought might be the more interesting challenge is how do we keep a community newspaper strong. How do we grow it and keep providing the public service we do,” he said.

“The work we do here is very important to the community, and it really is a privilege to work in a business that is a good business but is more than that. I feel very proud of that and happy to have spent my career doing that.”

Travis said he has no immediate plans for changes to the Monitor or concordmonitor.com, but that he has had conversations about online advertising and content and different presentation media for both.

Miller will leave the paper Dec. 21, to work on screenplays and developing film and television projects from his home in Kentucky, where his wife lives. Travis will take over on Jan. 14; in the interim, Circulation Director David Sangiorgio will fill the role of publisher.

Both the Monitor and the Valley News are owned by Newspapers of New England.

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

Well I hope for change with the Concord Monitor (AKA Pravda on the Merrimack). Let the firings begin or continue the myopic promotion of the democrat party/. My guess that is that the Monitor is just rearranging the deck chairs. Who cares about their readers they are still going to promote the same extremist liberal/socialist agenda and hope their circulation stops going down. Its not going to happen until they change.

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