SCHENECTADY The family-owned Daily Gazette Co. has named industry veteran John DeAugustine as its new publisher. He succeeds John E.N. Hume III, who served as the paper’s publisher for the past 23 years.
DeAugustine has held several senior positions at daily newspapers and media companies throughout his 22-year career in newspapers. Most recently, he served as corporate vice president of circulation for Hearst Community Newspaper Group, overseeing audience development and operations space for daily newspapers in Texas and Michigan.
“The Gazette’s board of directors is pleased to welcome John DeAugustine to be the first non-family publisher of our newspaper,” said Betsie Hume Lind, board president. “John is a strong leader with a solid knowledge of our industry and our region. Those qualities will help us continue our tradition of strong journalism and community service, as well as to grow in the changing media marketplace.”
Although he grew up outside Pittsburgh in the city of Jeannette, part of the reason DeAugustine was excited to join The Gazette was because of his wife’s strong roots in the Capital Region. He met Vicki DiMura, a Watervliet native and Gold Star Mother whose son was killed in Iraq, while working as the Times Union’s director of audience development.
“We got married in 2011 and she moved to Connecticut with me while I was publisher of the Connecticut Post, but we missed the Capital Region,” he said. “We loved it here. We absolutely did. All her family is here, so we decided that this is where we wanted to make our home.”
The couple lives in Saratoga Springs and is renovating a house on Saratoga Lake.
DeAugustine had other reasons for joining The Gazette, he said. The Schenectady-based newspaper has increased circulation at a time of great uncertainty in the industry. It has a loyal print and online audience, and recently invested in a new press that will allow the company to pursue new commercial printing opportunities.
There are tremendous opportunities available to The Gazette now, he said.
“It’s a really exciting time to be in this business,” he said. “Over the past 15 years, the newspaper industry has changed dramatically. The way we deliver media and the way we monetize our audience is dramatically different now than it was five years ago, and even more different than it was 15 years ago. In talking to Betsie and Bill and Jack [the Hume family], I could see that they were dedicated to taking this company to that next level.”
He got his start in the industry in 1991 when he became circulation and operations manager for the Standard Observer, a small daily newspaper and commercial printing operation in Irwin, Pa.
In 1995, he joined the Pittsburgh Tribune Review as home delivery manager, responsible for vendor negotiations, direct sales, retention and more. After four years, he became director of circulation sales and marketing, in charge of increasing sales and readership for the Tribune Review Publishing Co.’s digital and print products.
He spent two years, from October 2003 to October 2005, at York Newspaper Company in York, Pa., as vice president of audience development, before entering the Capital Region newspaper scene in 2005. As the Times Union’s audience development director, DeAugustine was responsible for increasing the number of paid subscribers while increasing the total reach of paid and free products.
In 2009, he was hired as executive vice president and publisher of the Connecticut Post, a daily newspaper in Bridgeport, Conn. For three years, he oversaw digital product sales and development, audience development, marketing, advertising sales and community outreach.
In his new role, DeAugustine wants to help The Gazette diversify its advertising base and leverage existing products.
“We want to make sure that we’re delivering the very best product to our readers, charging them a fair price and creating an environment for our advertisers that will drive their business,” he said.
DeAugustine is currently on the board at St. Mary’s Healthcare in Amsterdam and has previously served as a board member for the American Red Cross of Northeastern New York, Hope House of Albany and the Southern Saratoga Chamber of Commerce.
John Hume, who announced his decision to retire in April, will continue as vice president of the company’s board of directors.
DeAugustine will start his new job Monday.
“I see a tremendous upside here,” he said. “I think that this company just has a world of opportunity and I can’t wait to get started.”