MANCHESTER >> Greg Sukiennik, a veteran journalist and editor in New England, will become the next editor of the Manchester Journal on Oct. 3.
"Greg is bringing years of journalism experience and a lot of great energy to Manchester and the mountains area," said Kevin Moran, the vice president of news for New England Newspapers Inc., which owns the Journal. "We are really lucky to have landed Greg for this position. Journal readers will be the beneficiaries of having a great editor and journalist at the helm of their local paper."
"I appreciate the opportunity New England Newspapers has given me to lead the Manchester Journal," said Sukiennik, 46. "It's a newspaper with a dedicated following and the potential to be a great resource for the community it serves. My challenge is to take that potential and turn it into a newspaper that you can't wait to open and read.
"The Manchester Journal can be the best weekly newspaper in Vermont. That's what the owners want to see and that's what its readers deserve: Community journalism that informs, entertains and makes you think, every week. I share that goal and I am dedicated to meeting the challenge and earning your trust. It's a lofty goal, but I believe in setting the bar high."
Sukiennik's experience includes five years as a reporter for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Mass.; five years as a reporter for the Associated Press in Boston; and 10 years with ESPN in Bristol, Conn., from an editor on its news desk to the editor of its NFL, college football and MLB blogs. He hold a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts.
Sukiennik succeeds the Journal's previous editor, Andrew McKeever, who joined GNAT as a news director earlier this summer.
Already, new ideas are on the table for the Journal, according to Sukiennik. They include the introductions of a weekly outdoors feature since outdoor recreation is a major component of life in the area; a weekly feature on downhill and Nordic skiing and snowboarding and the industry during the winter season; and a "savvy shopper" feature that covers the retail industry in town as a resource for folks who travel to Manchester for shopping.
Sukiennik said he's also planning a news approach that includes reporting on issues ranging from the business community to local and state politics as they impact Manchester.
The Journal has been part of the New England Newspapers family of newspapers — The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Mass., and the Bennington Banner and Brattleboro Reformer — since 1983. On May 2, the group of newspapers was acquired from corporate ownership by local owners based in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.
"I am thoroughly delighted that an old Eagle hand has returned to New England Newspapers to take over the Manchester Journal," said Fredric D. Rutberg, the president of New England Newspapers and a member of the ownership group. "I am confident that both the community and Greg will find this an excellent fit."
At ESPN, Sukiennik's work included producing and updating the web-based assets promoting ESPN programming and personalities including the "30 for 30" film series and "Outside the Lines."
At The Berkshire Eagle, he won awards for a series he conceptualized and co-wrote on prospects for a cleanup and re-use of a PCB-contaminated industrial site in Pittsfield, Mass., framing the debate for talks that led to a major remediation project by General Electric.
Moran made additional announcements concerning the Journal and news coverage.
Reporter Makayla McGeeney, who's been based in the Journal newsroom for nearly two months, will continue covering Manchester and its environs for the Journal and its sister paper, the Bennington Banner.
In addition, James Therrien, a veteran Vermont journalist and former managing editor of the Banner, has been hired by the Journal and Banner in cooperation with the statewide online news service Vermont Digger to cover major news and issues in Bennington County, including the Manchester region. Therrien, of North Pownal, started in that role on Monday.
Sukiennik and McGeeney will be based out of the Journal office, located at the First Congregational Church on Main Street in Manchester.
Sukiennik and his wife, Michelle Maher, and their daughter, Sofia, 12, currently make their home in Farmington, Conn. They have plans to relocate to the Manchester area.
"Growing up in the Berkshires, I visited Manchester on a regular basis and knew it was a place I could someday call home. I look forward to telling the story of this community and the people who live and work here," said Sukiennik.
His hobbies include music, cooking, writing, and home brewing. He is a dedicated Boston Red Sox fan.
Moran credited Scott Stafford, a reporter and editor at The Eagle, for leading the Journal in Manchester during the transition to a new editor.
"Scott has done a great job at the Journal in the interim," Moran said. "Along with Makayla McGeeney, they've hammered out stories and packed nearly every page with local bylines."
After handing the reins to Sukiennik, Stafford will return to reporting from the North Adams, Mass., bureau of The Berkshire Eagle.