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Szempruch heads News ads

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A change in leadership has come to the Yellow Springs News.

Suzanne Szempruch is now head of advertising and the newest co-owner of the 139-year-old newspaper.

Szempruch (pronounced ZIM-pruk)took over from Robert Hasek, who worked in advertising at the News for 15 years and was a co-owner for the last 12. She purchased his ownership shares last week and assumed the position of advertising manager.

Szempruch co-owns the paper with Matt Minde, director of design and production, and Megan Bachman, editor.

Szempruch started at the News eight years ago in design and production, but soon after began assisting Hasek with advertising sales and contributing photography. In the last few years she has also managed the company’s circulation, classifieds and retail sales.

This week, Szempruch said she appreciates the mission of the News and wants to keep it strong.

“It’s a good paper,” she said. “We do our best to speak the truth and stay connected to the community. I really want to help the business continue to grow.”

Szempruch looks forward to working with the paper’s loyal advertisers who keep the paper going.

“The people who advertise with the News care about the community the way that we care about the community,” she said.

Hasek is leaving Yellow Springs for Portland, Ore., where his wife, Monica, has taken a job running a branch of a nursery and landscape design business.

Hasek said last week he is proud of what he has accomplished at the News, a job he felt was often more like “community service.”

“I loved growing the business and cultivating the relationships with businesses, organizations and people in the community,” he said.

Hasek not only helped the firm weather  two recessions, but kept it afloat while many small newspapers around the country were closing their doors.

“We’ve not only persevered, we have continued to grow,” Hasek said.

When it comes to advertising, Hasek saw his role at the News as supporting community journalism. He had a hand in producing 800 papers while at the News.

“Revenue from advertising sales supports the incredible journalism done here,” Hasek said. “Every sale I made contributed to telling the stories that benefited the community.”

Hasek is also grateful to have taught businesses how to market themselves, especially startups that didn’t know where to begin.

“I enjoyed helping businesses start up and existing businesses grow,” he said. 

Hasek was hired by then-News co-owner Karen Gardner in 2003 to help with advertising. He later joined News designer Matt Minde and then-editor Diane Chiddister as a co-owner.

Hasek also taught a weekly yoga class in the village for more than a decade and ran Yoga Springs with Monica Hasek for 10 years. And he could be heard spinning vinyl records at dance parties as DJ BobbyLite. Hasek’s daughter, Olivia, is finishing her sixth-grade year at Mills Lawn.

Hasek said he will miss the access to nature and vibrant downtown of Yellow Springs.

“I could take a hike through the Glen, pick up something at Tom’s and hike back through the Glen. That is a unique and special experience,” Hasek said.

A native of Springfield, Szempruch, 36, moved to the village in 2009 while a designer at Ertel Publishing on South High Street. She currently lives near Pitchin in southern Clark County with her husband, Lucas, and two children, Abigail, 3, and Hazel, 1.

Having lived or worked in Yellow Springs for the last 15 years, Szempruch enjoys the local community and its rich history.

“I love meeting the people who live here, learning the history,” she said.

Szempruch has also appreciated her time at the News, where she has gone through three different sets of business cards as her last name and positions changed.

“I’ve really grown up at the News,” she said.

Szempruch has done nearly every job at the News outside of writing and editing, and looks forward to using her knowledge of all sides of the business to help the company.

“I like to know the ins and outs of a  business to know how things can be fixed and made more efficient,” she said.

Though the paper is facing its share of challenges with an aging readership and competition from social media, Szempruch is confident that its product will continue to hold value for the town.

“You can’t trust what you read online,” she said. “The News is the real deal.”


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