After a year of unknowns associated with COVID-19, The Shippensburg News-Chronicle and Newville Valley Times-Star newspapers are looking forward to the future as they add new exciting features for our loyal readers and advertisers, while still focusing on local news and sports coverage.
The newspapers have seen some staffing changes in the past several months. Amy Horn has replaced longtime General Manager John Zimmerman at the helm of the two newspapers. Horn said the Cumberland Valley is close to her heart as she has worked in advertising in Franklin and Cumberland counties since 1994.
Mary Waldt is our new friendly face at the front desk, answering calls and addressing all of your print subscription needs.
Longtime Advertising Representative Judy Marlin still covers much of Shippensburg and Newville. The news team is headed by longtime Managing Editor Denise Bonura, with Marisa Cass in news and veteran reporter Andrew Miller in sports. Freelancers Denny Clopper, Kim Spencer and Christian Eby round out the news and sports coverage for both of our local newspapers. The creative talents of Graphic Designer Kristine Celli add flair to our weekly newspapers and monthly special publications.
The newspapers are about to launch a new website on March 22, which will also add free access for all of our print subscribers. A range of subscriptions is also available for online-only access for subscribers who wish to have the news right at their fingertips. Our websites can be accessed at: www.shipnc.com and www.newvillevts.com.
“I have always loved local, hometown newspapers; my heart has always had the love of helping customers grow their business through newspaper and digital products. When I was offered the job, I thought this is a way to get back in our local community again and share my experience with as many new customers as possible, along with ones that I had a long-term relationship with. When I had done my homework on the newspaper, I was impressed with the loyalty that it had and the wonderful following of the readers and advertisers. It has been a breath of fresh air again to me,” Horn noted on her new role.
Horn is most looking forward to meeting new people and finding new opportunities for us to grow as a company, “but, I think, most of all, I am just excited for this new adventure that I am on. We have a lot of great things to offer, we have a wonderful team that works together well and I know that as long as we keep on this path, good things will keep coming.”
Horn has worked in advertising since 1994, when she began at the Public Opinion newspaper in Chambersburg. Her customers were in Shippensburg, Newville and surrounding areas. She has watched some of her customers’ children grow up, and even have children of their own.
“My years at the PO made me the person I am. I was blessed to make many connections in Chambersburg, Shippensburg, Carlisle and surrounding areas. I was involved with a great team that taught me many things,” Horn said. “We started selling digital advertising there in early 2005. Selling in the digital world was very different, but very rewarding as a young sales rep. After many years at the PO, I decided to move on in the summer of 2018. My last career was as a Digital Sales Executive for Adtaxi Digital Co. out of Denver, Colorado. I worked remotely for them for two years traveling, working with many companies locally and across the U.S. We ran full-funnel digital campaigns like Search, Social, Display, eCommerce, etc. for auto, retail, eCommerce, Real Estate, and other companies. But when COVID hit last year, they had to lay off many employees and that left me searching for a job. I was not really sure what my next life was meant to be, but I remember praying that God would place me in a position that I would serve people; I love to help people and see a smile on their faces. I have a close friend, Rick Heckman, that introduced me to Sample News Group and the rest is history. Here I am serving our customers at the N-C and VTS, along with the Mercersburg Journal territory.”
Horn would like readers to know that we always try our very best to get the newspapers out to them each week with no interruptions.
“We have been having some ups and downs over the past few months, but we are making sure we are working hard to serve the community. I want to thank all of the local readers and advertisers that have supported us on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis. We are very thankful for you all,” Horn noted. “I also want to thank our advertisers that have always been loyal to us no matter what; if it was not for the advertisers and readers, we would not have a paper to print. Our team takes extra steps to make sure that we are giving our advertisers and readers the best service possible at any given time. We are getting questions about the Tuesday News-Chronicle edition coming back, but unfortunately, we are not planning on bringing that back just yet. Maybe sometime this year we will add it back.”
Horn is also excited to add new print and digital products to give advertisers another way to reach their audiences, and “give them a bigger bang for their buck.”
Horn said while juggling managing staffing changes and various office tasks with a full-time sales position has been difficult for the last 5 ½ months, she is getting a handle on things as they come. She said another challenge of her new role is realizing change isn’t going to happen overnight.
“I am one that wants everything perfect and right, but am finding out that running a newspaper is not always as easy as it looks. I get a little frustrated when things do not go the way that I plan, but we are making progress here, no doubt about it. The paper has had some changes over the last few months so we are trying to learn things, learn each other and, above all, just make sure we are all working on the same goal, and that is the newspaper!”
Horn said her new role has brought her full circle, and she feels at home again.
“I have worked with many of our advertisers when I was employed at PO, so it feels great going back to my old stomping grounds and also meeting new friends and advertisers,” she added. “I come from a big family, and we are all from these local areas, so I feel like I belong here. I really enjoy hearing our readers say they just love the paper and what we bring to them every week. I don’t think any other job will be a fit for me like this one. I have had many people treat me well over the last few months, made me feel like I am doing something good every day. I really enjoy my team here; they are a good team of hard workers!”
Waldt is a 1966 graduate of Shippensburg State Teachers College (now Shippensburg University). She majored in Secondary English, and began a 35-year career as a teacher of Middle School Language Arts.
“During my teaching career, I was the advisor for not only the school newspaper, but also for a literary magazine, and the Howard Scripps Spelling Bee. Shortly after I retired, my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. When he passed away, the grief counseling I received from Hospice stressed that I must refocus by painting or crafting and by seeking part-time opportunities. Because of my educational experiences, when I saw the advertisement for a receptionist for The News-Chronicle/Valley Times-Star, I applied for the position. My experience in the classroom has proven to be an asset in performing my duties at The New-Chronicle/Valley Times-Star office. I never realized how much was involved in running a newspaper. I thought I was swamped with paperwork teaching! However, I can tell you it’s challenging to meet deadlines and keep everything up-to-date. Every task has a different software application, so it has been challenging learning and mastering all these programs. Truly, as a member of The News-Chronicle/Valley Times-Star team, I have gained a new focus and a new purpose.”
Publisher Harry Hartman said the changes we are making have been nothing but steps in the right direction, preparing us for the future of newspapers.
“Adding Amy to our staff has been a complete positive from Day One. Amy is from Franklin County and has deep roots in this community. She brings a long career in the newspaper advertising business to our newspapers, and she has a wealth of knowledge on the digital side of the newspaper business where we have already started to see significant growth under Amy’s leadership. Amy’s leadership on the digital sales side of the business is unmatched in south-central Pennsylvania.”
“Expanding and enhancing our website and digital news and sports coverage will give our readers up-to-the-minute coverage of breaking news and sports and allow our subscribers to access local news in multiple ways on multiple devices,” Hartman continued. “Our primary business model will always be our printed editions, but in today’s ever-changing world, being able to tell our friends and neighbors what is happening in their communities faster and more accurately is the key to the survival of local newspapers, and that is the model we will be following. Our newspapers provide fact-based news and information to our readers that they cannot get anywhere else; that is why good local newspapers continue to thrive and survive. The newspaper industry, like most industries in this country, is an ever-changing one. What has not changed in our industry is the concept that if you hire good people and allow them to make good decisions, you will be successful. That is what we have done at The News-Chronicle, The Valley Times-Star and at our Weekender publication -- we hired good people and got out of their way to let them do their jobs. We have a small staff, but a dedicated staff that lives in this community, cares for this community and loves this community.”
Managing Editor Denise Bonura is also excited for what the future has in store for both newspapers.
“In the seven years that I have led the news team at The News-Chronicle and The Valley Times-Star, I have grown to love the many facets of the communities we cover. Our dedicated team of writers and photographers work long hours to get you the coverage you are looking for in hometown newspapers. Though COVID threw a wrench in our operation, as it did with countless other businesses, we still worked throughout the pandemic to highlight the work being done locally by the generous and hard-working folks that fuel our local economy. It truly has been heart-warming to see so many people come together in these unprecedented times. As we hopefully are on the outskirts of the pandemic, I am very excited to move forward with our new website, and other digital offerings that will plunge us into the future of local journalism. I know the past year has been frustrating on some fronts, but I believe the changes we are making will make us bigger, better and stronger to keep you abreast of what’s taking place in the Cumberland Valley.”
To subscribe to The News-Chronicle or The Valley Times-Star, call the office at: (717) 532-4101, or visit our websites. We are more than happy to help you with all of your local news, sports and advertising needs. Contact us with your story ideas, comments and feedback. Thank you again for your continued support!