Although it might be argued the Gazettes have operated in the shadow of Long Beach’s larger daily, the Press-Telegram, it would be unwise to make such an argument in Harry’s presence.
Saltzgaver has never considered, and has never allowed his small but high-performing staff to consider, the Gazettes as a small weekly newspaper. Rather, he considers the Gazettes to be THE community newspaper of Long Beach.
And it is a responsibility he takes extraordinarily seriously.
He maintains a competitive zeal with the Press-Telegram, a sister publication within the Los Angeles News Group, that has made his staff better, and more importantly, delivered better journalism to his readers in Long Beach.
Saltzgaver leads from the front. While guiding a young staff, he continues to write extensively each week, including a very-popular column, as he edits all three Gazette editions. His ability to provide insight to readers on often intricate and complex stories from city hall has become his trademark.
Impressively, Saltzgaver has transformed the Gazettes into a Digital First operation while maintaining the excellence of the print products. In 2013, the Gazettes launched a new web site design, and the site is updated daily with fresh content and breaking news. “Harry's Rant” every Monday has become a popular opinion video where Harry rants about a topic or issue in Long Beach and engages with readers for their thoughts.
He insists his staff adopt the modern tools of today’s digital first journalist. Indeed, the most-read story on the Press-Telegram’s website in 2013 was a story picked up from the Gazette.
Not surprisingly, Saltzgaver is usually the first to arrive in the office and the last to leave.
Also not surprising is Saltzgaver’s overall commitment to community engagement. He serves on a number of non-profit boards and committees, including The Arts Council and Goodwill. He relishes his role as the public face of the Gazettes, whether attending a city council meeting until the bitter end, covering breaking news or interacting with his readers at a public event.
In 2013 the Gazettes contended with a new competitor, the Long Beach Register. In many ways, this posed even more of a threat to the Gazettes than it did to the daily Press-Telegram. The Register has a solid record of establishing strong weeklies. Cut-rate prices could easily cripple the Gazettes if advertisers, who operate on thin margins, saw a bona fide better and less expensive opportunity. A new TMC print product from the Register could steal readers if they no longer saw a need to pick up the Gazettes. This was literally a matter of survival for the Gazettes.
Saltzgaver displayed steely and calm resolve in the face of this adversity, instead viewing it as an opportunity to hit the reset button on everything the Gazettes do to ensure it was as good as it could be. To date, the Register has made absolutely no inroads into the Gazettes reader or advertiser base. And the Gazettes are as good as they’ve ever been.
I therefore nominate Harry Saltzgaver to be Digital First Media’s non-daily Journalist of the Year. Cited below are numerous examples and five links of his work.—
Vice President of News / Executive Editor
About Harry Saltzgaver• Writes the Gazette editorial each week after consultation with his editorial board.
- • Continues to be the primary government reporter, often staying Tuesday nights after laying out and turning the biggest edition of the print paper in order to write and post stories out of the Long Beach City Council meetings.
- • Maintains his own Twitter and Facebook accounts (more than 1,500 friends/followers) in addition to working the Gazette accounts.
- • Led a holiday gift card drive for WomenShelter of Long Beach, the area’s domestic violence shelter, that raised more than $38,000 from Gazette readers.
- • Served as sole print media representative on the panel questioning mayoral candidates for the area Public Access Television debate.
- • Moderated the only Third District City Council debate to date.