The Sag Harbor Express and the Press News Group recently merged to form The Express News Group, one company with four distinctive newspapers that will boast a vibrant web presence, live events addressing chief issues on the East End, and most essential, a dedicated newsroom staff.
It’s a tiring tale, that the future of local journalism is unknown. That in the last decade-and-a-half, nearly 2,000 weekly and daily newspapers have closed, according to a recent study by the University of North Carolina’s Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media.
But journalism under The Express News Group – with a combined 280 years of history – will be stronger with increased reach and depth. Under the leadership of publishers Gavin and Kathryn “Georgie” Menu — originally the co-publishers of the single-flag Sag Harbor Express — reporting will expand to every crevice of the South Fork and there will be more innovative ways to get involved.
The company will celebrate its official launch with a sold-out event on Friday of Labor Day weekend at the Breakwater Yacht Club in Sag Harbor. Tickets to the event, which will include live music by The Nancy Atlas Project, were free to subscribers of The Southampton Press, The Sag Harbor Express or 27east.com.
“This new combined entity gives us an opportunity to reach the entire South Fork with a new way of community building,” Mr. Menu said. “We believe it will be a tremendous benefit to the entire region to have a media company with the reach that we have, working to bring people together with elected officials and other community leaders to educate and inform them about issues that matter to them most.”
The Press Sessions, a new series of issue-based discussions, will launch in Southampton and East Hampton towns in mid-September. Like The Express has done for the last two years with its oft sold-out Express Sessions, these live, in-person events will allow attendees – including government officials, community and business leaders and regular engaged citizens – to come together to discuss the biggest concerns facing the area, and to determine the best way forward. Local Sag Harbor resident Ellen Dioguardi – who has over 25 years of experience in the field – will serve as the Executive Director of Events, leading this effort. These essential conversations will span a variety of topics, from the environment and renewable energy to the future of local business districts and affordable housing – and they need community involvement.
“It’s exciting for me to be working on these kinds of events that aren’t simply fun and entertaining but are also informative and educational as well,” Ms. Dioguardi said. “The underpinning of just about every event we do is that it contributes to the community, lifts up local institutions and informs our readers and the communities we serve.”
A subscription to one of The Express News Group publications includes not only print and digital access, but also early access to sign up for Press and Express sessions. The secret is that holding government leaders to account, attending every school and village board meeting, and reporting on news, arts, lifestyle and real estate content, takes work. It takes dedicated reporters and editors to do boots-on-the-ground reporting, who seek out stories, who are proactive rather than reactive.
There are several options for subscription packages to one of The Express News Group publications, whether it’s a full print and digital membership or online access only. But investing in reporting and thorough coverage of the East End will allow the newsroom to uncover stories, tell of both community wins and losses, and hold these essential productive conversations.
“Together, two strong community news organizations will be something even better,” said Joseph P. Shaw, who has served as the Press News Group’s Executive Editor for 21 years and is continuing those responsibilities for The Express News Group. “At a moment when journalism is still navigating the biggest changes since Guttenberg’s first printing press, both organizations will be stronger, more agile, more innovative. In a word, better.”
Purchase tickets for the first Press Sessions event, The Evolution of Southampton Village Business District here, which will be held on September 13 at Union Cantina in Southampton, or The Winds of Change: The Future of Renewable Energy on the East End, to be held on September 26 at Rowdy Hall in East Hampton, here.
Please submit questions about the merger to firstname.lastname@example.org or submit a comment below and the newsroom staff will respond within one week.