John E.N. “Jack” Hume III, publisher of the family-owned Daily Gazette newspaper for the last 23 years, has announced he plans to retire this summer.
“I’m excited about having my younger, more energetic cousins take over the reins,” Hume said. “The paper and the role it plays in Schenectady will always be an important part of my life.”
The company’s search for a new publisher began last week, with a committee consisting of two executive board members and two advisory board members culling resumes from across the country.
“We want to have someone in the position by mid-summer,” said Daily Gazette Co. President Betsie Hume Lind. “We will be receiving resumes in the next couple of weeks, do phone interviews and site interviews, and then have the finalists meet with department heads so they have a chance to express what they would like to see in a publisher who can help lead us into the future.”
Readers shouldn’t expect any major changes at The Gazette during the transition, she added, even as the paper continues to evolve its online presence.
“There are a lot of new developments in the industry, and Jack’s excited to see them happen, but he feels it’s time to bring in a new publisher with new ideas,” Lind said of her cousin.
The company will remain in family hands, she emphasized. Despite outside offers to purchase the company over the years, the board has no plans to sell.
What was initially known just as Daily Gazette was founded in 1894 by a group of five businessman known as the Schenectady Printing Association. Local businessman Gerardus Smith bought out each man’s interest between 1898 and about 1905, with management later falling to his protégé, Austin N. Liecty. In 1945, the Smith family took the leadership role again when John G. Green, who had married Gerardus Smith’s daughter, Eleanor, became president. In 1964, Eleanor Smith was named president, followed by her nephew, John E.N. Hume Jr., in 1983. Hume’s brother, David, became president in 1986, and then John Hume’s son Jack took over in 1993.
“Our publishers have always been in the family,” said Betsie Lind, “but I think at this point we are all about professionalizing upper management and our boards. We have had such great success with our advisory board that we’d like to continue the process by having a publisher who is not a family member.”
In 2012, The Daily Gazette added an advisory board that included family members and two outside representatives: John B. Johnson of the Johnson Newspaper Corp. in Watertown, and Jon Segal, former president of Freedom Newspapers.
The Humes are represented today at The Gazette by Jack and his cousins, siblings Betsie Hume Lind as president and William S. Hume as secretary and treasurer. In addition, Kathryn E. Hume serves as the remaining family member on the Gazette’s advisory board.
Jack Hume, 73, will remain on as vice president for the foreseeable future.
His first foray with the Schenectady-based newspaper began in the pressroom in 1958. He graduated from Albany Academy and the University of Virginia. After active duty in the Schenectady Air National Guard, he began his work at the Gazette in 1966 in engravings, eventually working his way up to photographer, a re-write man, assistant state editor and assistant city editor. In 1974, he became managing editor, and in 1986, he became editor. Four years later, he became publisher.
“The plan is to always keep the paper in the family,” said Betsie Hume Lind. “We appreciate Jack’s institutional knowledge and direction, and his interest in maintaining the Gazette as the locally owned voice of the Capital Region.”