By Lian Bunny, ’17
Editor & Publisher named St. Bonaventure University alumna Lizz Schumer, ’08, to its E&P’s 25 Under 35 list for 2015.
The list recognizes the next generation of newspaper publishing leaders, people with business-savvy abilities to lead newspapers into a new age with bold, new strategies.
Individuals were nominated through an online application. The candidates had to be newspaper leaders – publishers, editors, advertising executives, circulation managers – and had to be 35 years old or younger.
Schumer, 27, graduated from St. Bonaventure with a bachelor of arts in journalism and mass communication. She is the editor-in-chief of The Sun in Hamburg, N.Y.
After Schumer took the helm of The Sun in March of 2014, the paper transformed from a small-format paper into a broadsheet with a new layout, larger photos and content refocused on local news, sports, events and features. While subscription numbers had been plummeting, they have stabilized in the past year.
In an interview with E&P, Schumer described how the paper’s Facebook page followers have boosted from a couple hundred to almost 3,000, and that number continues to grow weekly. Schumer hired a reporter who also shoots video to revitalize the paper’s decaying social media presence. Since then, the average post views have escalated from 100 to 1,000.
In addition, Schumer instituted live-tweeting during important meetings, added online video as an option to the public and promoted community interactions through consistent Twitter, Facebook and online conversation with readers.
The paper increased its arts coverage by adding “Sounds of Southtowns,” a weekly music feature that increases attention to local school productions and their new theater-in-residence. Due to readers’ requests, Schumer also reintroduced a social news page, started a “Getting to Know Your Neighbor” local business feature and a “Your Stories” feature, which profiles colorful characters within the Hamburg community.
In her interview with E&P, Schumer advised young journalists to stay flexible and keep their skills relevant.
“It’s not enough to put out a print product once a day, once a week, etc,” said Schumer. “We have to be able to communicate with our audience via social media, video and community interaction as well. As the editor of a weekly community paper, I’m also a photographer, videographer, social media manager, reporter and copy editor. We’ve got to wear many hats as the number of heads in the newsroom falls. Young newspaper professionals are not just print journalists anymore; we’re multimedia journalists.”
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