Meet the new boss.
Perkiomen Valley Patch Editor Ann Cornell has been hired as the new editor-in-chief of The Reporter Newspaper in Lansdale.
Cornell will replace former executive editor Nona Breaux, who retired as editor-in-chief in December 2011 after 38 years.
The Lansdale Catholic graduate begins her new venture on June 4.
"It's a new challenge for me," Cornell said. "Why I came to Patch was to learn more and have an opportunity to be back in the field, do reporting and embrace the new direction journalism is taking."
Cornell holds a bachelors in journalism from Temple University, graduating in 2005.
From 2005 to 2010, Cornell worked at The Times Herald in Norristown, beginning as a copy editor and working her way up to news editor.
Cornell said the job opportunity was unexpected, but after much thought and struggle, she accepted the position.
"I'm interested in taking what I learned with digital reporting and how the community can utilize online resources to better serve a journalist's mission," Cornell said.
The Skippack Township native is planning some changes at The Reporter, to be determined once she gets settled in.
"I'll be new to the paper and the Lansdale area. I want to take time and listen to what the current staff has to say and what the current readership and residents have to say," Cornell said.
Cornell grew up in the Perkiomen Valley. Her familiarity with the area is limited to attending Lansdale Catholic and hanging out with friends in and around Lansdale. Cornell will have to get reacquainted to her new surroundings.
"I am familiar with the people and the businesses and the changing face of the community. It looks different now than it did 10 years ago," she said.
Cornell wants to continue the tradition that The Reporter has in the community. The Reporter is owned by Journal Register Company, which is operated by Digital First Media.
"I'm nervous about the newness of it. I'm sure the staff is nervous as they don't know me and I don't know them. I hope I can serve the paper well," she said. "The Reporter has been in the community for decades and serves a great tradition. I will do it my way and do it proud, and have the community embrace it even more."
Some may view the hiring of Cornell as Digital First Media seeing the potential in an editor of a successful online daily newspaper to usher in a new era at a print newspaper.
"I really don’t think the people I interviewed and spoke with see it that way," Cornell said. "They said Patch is good idea. It's the type of local journalism, and ties into, what The Reporter is doing, but doing it in a slightly different way."
Cornell said she wishes to work on some kind of partnership with Montgomeryville-Lansdale Patch in local news coverage.
"At the end of the day, we strive toward the same goal: we provide Lansdale residents with comprehensive coverage of the area," Cornell said. "We don't need to have animosity as we strive toward the same goal."
As editor-in-chief, Cornell expects to wear many hats. She knows she has to be familiar with so many different aspects of a newspaper. Cornell will hold the responsibility for directing and guiding editorial, connecting with the community and meeting the people that make up The Reporter's coverage area.
"There is a learning curve with how The Reporter handles stories. I have to be comfortable with every aspect of putting a paper together, engaging in the community and working with them. It's a very outside and inside job," she said.
"The face of journalism is changing and the way people consume news is changing," Cornell continued. "The mission of providing local coverage of news can be expanded on and improved on with the direction the industry is taking."
Cornell is looking forward to the next chapter in her life. She said it comes with anticipation and excitement and nerves all rolled into one.
"I will absolutely miss my fantastic connections in the Perkiomen Valley community. The people of the area are really important to me and I'm lucky to have gotten to know them through this time," she said.
Her team of fellow Patch regional editors and local editors have always provided great news coverage for their readers, she said.
"We have a great professional working relationship. I've seen many times when we pull together and help one another out. It's a wonderful thing to have in your work environment and that's going to be the toughest thing to leave," she said.
One thing Cornell isn't leaving behind: the passion and benevolences that come with community journalism.
"I hope to continue to work in this industry, which I see as a branch of public service for the community," she said.