The Berkshire Eagle

Last updated
The Berkshire Eagle
The Berkshire Eagle.png
The 2 October 2020 front page
of The Berkshire Eagle
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner(s) New England Newspapers, Inc. (John C. "Hans" Morris, Fredric Rutberg, estate of Robert G. Wilmers)
PublisherFredric Rutberg
EditorKevin Moran
FoundedDaily since May 9, 1892, with weekly roots beginning with the Western Star, founded in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in 1789 [1]
LanguageEnglish
Headquarters75 South Church Street,
Pittsfield, Massachusetts 01201, United States
Circulation 23,835 daily
26,708 Sunday in 2012 [2]
Sister newspapers Bennington Banner, Brattleboro Reformer
ISSN 0895-8793
Website berkshireeagle.com

The Berkshire Eagle is an American daily newspaper published in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and covering all of Berkshire County, as well as four New York communities near Pittsfield. It is considered a newspaper of record for Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

Contents

Published daily since 1892, The Eagle has been owned since 1 May 2016 by a group of local Berkshire County investors, who purchased The Eagle and its three Vermont sister newspapers for an undisclosed sum from Digital First Media. [3]

History

Origins

The Eagle's roots go back to a weekly newspaper, the Western Star, founded in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in 1789. Over time, this newspaper changed its name, ownership, and place of publications multiple times:

Miller era

The weekly Berkshire County Eagle was purchased by Kelton Bedell Miller in 1891. The following year, on May 9, 1892, it commenced daily publication as The Berkshire Evening Eagle. [1] The Berkshire County Eagle, however, remained a part of the paper, as a weekly section within the Wednesday edition of the daily, until 24 June 1953. [16]

The Miller family retained ownership until 1995. After Kelton Bedell Miller died in 1941, ownership passed to his sons, Lawrence K. Miller and Donald B. Miller, as editor and publisher, respectively. [17]

The Miller brothers focused on hiring talent and building the quality of The Eagle's newsroom. The newspaper became known as a great place for graduates of journalism schools to begin their careers, and many of those reporters went on to renowned careers throughout the journalistic world in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post , TheWall Street Journal, Time magazine and others. [18] [19]

In a 1973 Time magazine article about The Eagle, then Boston Globe editor Thomas Winship is quoted as calling The Eagle the best newspaper “of its size in the country.” The article mentions that the paper carried occasional book reviews from Berkshire County residents such as James MacGregor Burns and William L. Shirer. At the time, the paper had nearly 20 local columnists, 23 stringers and a staff of 35, considered large for a paper its size. (Circulation was 32,000 at the time.) [18]

Press critic Ben Bagdikian in 1973 stated that there were only three great newspapers in the world: The New York Times, Le Monde, and The Berkshire Eagle. The Washington Post, where he had served as editor and ombudsman, he said at the time, was “not yet a great paper.” [20]

The Eagle launched a Sunday edition in 1987. [17]

The next and final generation of Miller owners was headed by Michael G. Miller, grandson of Kelton Bedell Miller, who founded the paper. Michael was then president of The Eagle Publishing Company which in 1995 owned The Eagle, the Middletown Press in Middletown, Connecticut, and two daily newspapers in Vermont: the Bennington Banner and the Brattleboro Reformer , as well as a weekly newspaper, the Journal in Manchester, Vermont; his brother Mark C. Miller was editor of The Eagle, while brother Kelton B. Miller II was publisher of the Vermont newspapers. A sister, Margo Miller, a writer for The Boston Globe , sat on Eagle Publishing's board. [21]

In 1989, the Millers chose to renovate, as a new headquarters and printing plant for their company, a former Sheaffer-Eaton stationery company paper converting factory in Pittsfield. As a result of a recession, the company was unable to service the debt it had assumed to finance this $23.5 million project. Failing to find a white knight to help them weather the fiscal storm that ensued, in 1995 the Millers sold their holdings to MediaNews Group, a company founded by William Dean Singleton of Denver, Colorado. [21]

MediaNews era

The transaction closed on September 1, 1995. Simultaneously, MediaNews Group sold the Middletown Press to the Journal Register Company. [22] The following year, MediaNews added the North Adams Transcript to its western New England holdings. In January 2014, the Transcript ceased operations and was merged into The Eagle. [23]

Immediately upon acquiring The Eagle, MediaNews group reduced the newsroom staff of 40 by more than 25 percent. [24] Later under MediaNews management, as newspapers in general faced increasing financial challenges there were multiple rounds of staff reductions as various functions were consolidated into centralized locations on a regional or national basis. [25] All the while, subscription prices were increased despite falling circulation levels. [19]

Return to local ownership

In April 2016, a team of local investors bought The Eagle from Digital First Media (DFM), the new name of MediaNews Group. The investor team consisted of former Visa Inc. President John C. "Hans" Morris, local retired judge Fredric D. Rutberg, M&T Bank Chairman Robert G. Wilmers and Stanford Lipsey, former publisher of The Buffalo News and former owner of The Sun Newspaper Group of Nebraska. [26] [27] Lipsey died November 1, 2016. Wilmers died in December, 2017. [28]

In introducing the new ownership and its goals to The Eagle's readership, Rutberg wrote: “The goal is to make The Eagle a part of the finest community newspaper group in America,” Rutberg wrote. “Our business plan is simple. By improving the quality and quantity of the content in our publications, we expect to increase our readership which will, in turn, increase our revenues, and ensure the future of these publications.” [19] [29]

Under the new owners, The Eagle has been able to hire additional newsroom staff, expanded its investigative team, and has launched new content including a Sunday arts-focused section called Landscapes. [30]

The new ownership group also invested in new systems in order to transition off the centralized DFM technical infrastructure, including a new content management system. They established a community advisory board including journalists Linda Greenhouse and Donald Morrison, and authors Simon Winchester and Elizabeth Kolbert, all of whom have Berkshire area connections, and representatives of many local non-profits and businesses. [31] [28]

In October, 2020, in response to economic challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, The Eagle reduced its print frequency to five days per week, Tuesday through Saturday, with the traditional Sunday package of supplements and inserts moving into the Saturday slot. On Mondays, while there is no printed paper, an electronic facsimile of a printed newspaper is available, and the paper's website is updated seven days a week. The paper also announced a new strategic direction it calls Being Digital, which entails "moderniz[ing] and enhanc[ing] our digital presence by expanding our use of digital tools in our reporting that incorporates the use of podcasts, video, interactive graphics, and links to underlying references and sources." [32]

Awards and honors

In 1973, Roger B. Linscott, working at The Eagle, won a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. [33]

In 1991, Eagle reporter Holly A. Taylor won a George Polk Award for reporting about fiscal mismanagement at a Pittsfield hospital. [34]

Recent awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association have included:

In 2019, The Eagle received the JFK Commonwealth Award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, “for demonstrating the enduring civic value of community journalism.” [42]

In 2018, The Eagle received the Media Support of Arts Education Award from Arts|Learning, a Massachusetts arts education advocacy organization. [43]

Notable people

Cultural references

Editorial page

Eagle editorials since World War II have leaned slightly to the left of center [ citation needed ], with support generally given to Democratic Party candidates (The last Republican presidential candidate endorsed by the paper was Wendell Willkie in 1940.[ citation needed ]). The editorial page editors, like most of New England, early on railed against the War in Iraq, and were generally critical of Bush Administration's foreign and domestic policies.[ citation needed ]

Prices

Currently, The Berkshire Eagle costs $1.50 Tuesday through Friday, and $2.50 on Saturdays. Home delivery plus digital access costs $350 for 52 weeks. Digital-only access costs $179 per year.

See also

Related Research Articles

Berkshire County, Massachusetts County in Massachusetts

Berkshire County is a county on the western edge of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of the 2010 census, the population was 131,219. Its largest city and traditional county seat is Pittsfield. The county was founded in 1761.

Pittsfield, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts

Pittsfield is the largest city and the county seat of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is the principal city of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Berkshire County. The population was 44,737 at the 2010 census. Although the population has declined in recent decades, Pittsfield remains the third largest municipality in Western Massachusetts, behind only Springfield and Chicopee. In 2006, Forbes ranked Pittsfield as number 61 in its list of Best Small Places for Business. In 2008, Country Home magazine ranked Pittsfield as #24 in a listing of "green cities" east of the Mississippi. In 2009, the City of Pittsfield was chosen to receive a 2009 Commonwealth Award, Massachusetts' highest award in the arts, humanities, and sciences. In 2010, the Financial Times proclaimed Pittsfield the "Brooklyn of the Berkshires" in an article covering its renaissance at that time.

Stockbridge, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Stockbridge is a town in Berkshire County in western Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,947 at the 2010 census. A year-round resort area, Stockbridge is home to the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Austen Riggs Center, and Chesterwood, home and studio of sculptor Daniel Chester French.

Lee, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Lee is a town in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts, metropolitan statistical area. The population was 5,943 at the 2010 census. Lee, which includes the villages of South and East Lee, is part of the Berkshires resort area.

Great Barrington, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Great Barrington is a town in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 7,104 at the 2010 census. Both a summer resort and home to Ski Butternut, a ski resort, Great Barrington includes the villages of Van Deusenville and Housatonic.

Lenox, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Lenox is a town in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. Set in Western Massachusetts, it is part of the Pittsfield Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 5,025 at the 2010 census. Lenox is the site of Shakespeare & Company and Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Lenox includes the villages of New Lenox and Lenoxdale, and is a tourist destination during the summer.

Housatonic River River in the northeastern U.S.

The Housatonic River is a river, approximately 149 miles (240 km) long, in western Massachusetts and western Connecticut in the United States. It flows south to southeast, and drains about 1,950 square miles (5,100 km2) of southwestern Connecticut into Long Island Sound. Its watershed is just to the west of the watershed of the lower Connecticut River.

The Bennington Banner is a daily newspaper published in Bennington, Vermont. The paper covers local, national, and world news. It is distributed throughout Southwestern Vermont and eastern New York. The paper is owned by New England Newspapers Inc. and is published Monday through Friday, plus a weekend edition.

U.S. Route 7 (US 7) is a north–south U.S. Highway extending from southern Connecticut to the northernmost part of Vermont. In Massachusetts, the route extends for 54 miles (87 km) through western Berkshire County.

Yokun Ridge

Yokun Ridge is a ridge in the Taconic Mountains in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, consisting of a well-defined series of contiguous peaks including West Stockbridge Mountain and Lenox Mountain. The name "Yokun Ridge" was invented for the area in 1971 by a land conservation and environmental advocacy organization called the Berkshire Natural Resources Council, and was accepted in 2009 by the United States Board on Geographic Names. Yokun Ridge is 9 miles (14 km) long and contains a conservation planning area called the Stockbridge-Yokun Ridge Reserve designated in 1993 by the U.S. Forest Service under its Forest Legacy Program. The ridge is notable for outdoor recreation and scenic beauty, as well as its conserved land and proximity to the tourist destinations of Lenox and Stockbridge. Yokun Ridge is located within West Stockbridge, Stockbridge, Lenox, Richmond, and Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Approximately one-third of the ridge is protected as open space reserve, municipal watershed, and wildlife sanctuary.

Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum Railway museum in Lenox, MA

The Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum is a railroad museum located in Lenox, Massachusetts, United States, that offers historical exhibits. The museum was founded in 1984 as a not-for-profit organization. During the 1980s and 2003-2011 it offered tourist train rides between Lenox and Stockbridge on the Housatonic Railroad right-of-way. In 2016 the museum began tourist train service in North Adams, Massachusetts.

H. Neill Wilson

H. (Henry) Neill Wilson was an architect with his father James Keys Wilson in Cincinnati, Ohio; on his own in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and for most of his career in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The buildings he designed include the Rookwood Pottery building in Ohio and several massive summer cottages in Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

Kelton B. Miller

Kelton Bedell Miller was an American journalist and politician who served as Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Miller was the owner and publisher of The Berkshire Eagle for 47 years. The Miller Building, built in 1912 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and now home to The Berkshire County Juvenile Court, is named after Kelton Miller.

Pittsfield High School is a four year comprehensive public high school in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, United States. The school dates its founding to 1844. It is administered by the Pittsfield Public Schools district and is the oldest of the district's two high schools. Enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year included 916 students. 51% of the student population was female and 49% were male. Students of African American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and Multi-Race, Non-Hispanic ethnicity and heritage comprised 21.8% percent of the student population.

The Middletown Press is a newspaper based in Middletown, Connecticut that is the main daily newspaper of Middletown and its surrounding area in Middlesex County, Connecticut.

Amy Bess Williams Miller was an American historian, preservationist, trustee, and civic leader from the cities of Worcester and Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Best known for leading the effort to preserve Hancock Shaker Village on the border of Pittsfield and Hancock, Massachusetts and establish a museum there, she was a major scholar of Shaker history, society, and artifacts. In addition to serving as the Hancock museum's first president, she was president of the Berkshire Athenaeum, member of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and American Antiquarian Society, and trustee of Berkshire Medical Center, the Berkshire Museum, Miss Hall's School, the Massachusetts Audubon Society, and the Shaker Museum and Library. Miller's published works all deal with Shaker history and society. She wrote four books and co-edited a fifth, contributed an article to The Herbarist, and contributed to numerous exhibits.

Lenox Memorial High School is a public high school located in Lenox, Massachusetts, United States, founded in 1803. Since 1966 it has shared a campus with the town's middle school. The schools are officially known as Lenox Memorial Middle and High School.

The Manchester Journal is a weekly newspaper in Manchester, Vermont. The paper, founded by Charles A. Pierce, published its first issue on May 28, 1861. According to the American Newspapers Representative database, the Manchester Journal has a weekly circulation of 7,088 and is distributed every Friday.

Joseph McArthur Vance was a prominent architect in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. His portfolio comprised residential, commercial, industrial and recreational buildings. Much of his work was centered in Pittsfield, then a thriving commercial, industrial and resort city, but he was also commissioned by clients elsewhere in Berkshire County. He also pursued projects in neighboring states. Among the buildings he designed are the Colonial Theatre, the Allen Hotel - originally the Park Hotel - (1915), and the Frank Howard Building (1916) - all in Pittsfield; Bascom Lodge (1932-1937) atop Mount Greylock, the state's highest peak; and the Hotel Aspinwall in Lenox, Massachusetts (1902), which burned to the ground in 1931. Several buildings he designed are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

References

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