News-Gazette's delivery, branding see new leadership

News-Gazette's delivery, branding see new leadership

CHAMPAIGN — News-Gazette Media has reorganized its circulation department with a goal of improving delivery times and reliability.

Bob Shelton, previously the production manager, is now the director of operations, adding circulation to his responsibilities.

Debbie Edwards and Bob Cicone were also named top managers of circulation.

"Between them, there's 55 years of experience, and they're full of ideas and full of energy," said Shelton, who's been with The News-Gazette for 12 years.

The group also hired Whitney Emmert to be the new marketing manager, overseeing the rebranding of the organization as News-Gazette Media.

Shelton said on-time delivery will be a priority.

"We have to service our customers the way we promised them to, and that's getting them a paper by 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. on the weekends. We've struggled to do that," he said, citing recruiting and retention challenges.

With about 250 carriers, often one will call in sick or have car troubles, Shelton said, meaning someone else will have to cover for that person, potentially resulting in a late paper.

"We're trying to restructure the delivery process so that we can handle the bumps in the road that come literally every day," he said. "Our number one focus is getting the paper delivered on time every day."

Shelton entered the business as a paperboy in the '70s and began working on a printing press as a senior in a work-study program at Greenfield High School.

"I got a job at the local printing company just fiddling around, driving forklifts, and next thing you know, I learned how to run the press," he said. "One thing led to another, and that's what I did, and what I'm still doing all these years later."

In addition to managing the circulation department, Shelton will handle buildings and grounds maintenance and continue coordinating The News-Gazette's production operations, which recently moved to Peoria.

He's also overseeing the removal of equipment from the 48 E. Main St. building, where the printing press had been located.

Emmert, who replaces former marketing director Cassandra Schowengerdt, is managing marketing efforts, including sponsorships, events and the recent rebranding as News-Gazette Media.

"I want to be able to really get the word out there to the community that News-Gazette Media isn't just a newspaper or a radio station. It's a whole platform," she said.

A Danville native, Emmert graduated from Indiana State in 2011 and previously worked for home-services website Angie's List.

"This was an opportunity to move closer to all my family," she said.

Sections (2):News, Business
Topics (2):Economy, Employment

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Sidney61877 wrote on September 17, 2017 at 9:09 pm

Since The News-Gazette outsourced the printing to Peoria and subsequently fired all of their workers associated with the printing of the daily paper (some who had been at N-G for over 20+ years), the paper is rarely delivered to Sidney, IL before 7:30 am. I can only imagine how late it will be come winter.  I cancelled my daily print edition and now subscribe only to the online version. 

lcoil79 wrote on September 18, 2017 at 8:09 am

Worst service I have ever received has been since they moved the printing to Peoria.  My paper is finally being delivered on time, but what condition it'll come in is always a game of damage roulette.  Some days it has a hole scraped though 3 pages, some times it's soaking wet because they didn't put it in a bag even though rain was forcasted, and sometimes it's just plain missing.  Sunday papers are lots of fun now too.  I get to search my front yard for not only the rolled up paper, but also the rolled up comic/ad bundle, which are not always remotely close to each other.

Complaints to the service line get the standard we're sorry response and I have had times where the driver has refused to re-deliver, and they no longer have runners in my area to come out with a new paper.

Also, this came about before the move to Peoria, but the whole Driveway Service and Premium Service is a load of political promises.  I shouldn't have to pay an extra $2 a month just to narrow down my search area from the entirety of my driveway/front yard to my porch.

All-in-all, the NG's delivery service has declined dramatically over the past few years.  It would be nice if these changes actually helped, but I'm not gonna hold my breath.