Tompkins Weekly Staff
As the calendar turns to a new year, Tompkins Weekly will have a new leader.
Jamie Swinnerton has been named managing editor of the publication, taking over the role with the January 1, 2018 issue. She comes to Tompkins Weekly, most recently, from working as an editor and reporter for three Finger Lakes Community Newspapers publications.
“Being the managing editor of Tompkins Weekly comes with a lot of exciting opportunities and challenges that I was looking for at this stage of my career,” said Swinnerton. “After covering local news in smaller municipalities, I’m looking forward to the county-wide view that Tompkins Weekly takes.
“This county is a vibrant and unique community that I think Tompkins Weekly has done a great job of reflecting,” she added, “and I am very excited to continue learning about and exploring it!”
Swinnerton will replace Rob Montana, who has been managing editor since August 2016. He is departing Tompkins Weekly to take a managing editor position at a newspaper in Maine.
“It’s a bittersweet feeling, I’ve really enjoyed working with Rob and developing our vision for Tompkins Weekly,” said Tompkins Weekly Publisher Todd Mallinson. “Rob has been a valued leader and contributor in the evolution of Tompkins Weekly, and I appreciate his generous advance notice of his move that allowed time for a smooth transition to Jamie as our new editor.”
A graduate of Ithaca College, Swinnerton has also worked as a freelance writer at several publications in Denver, Colorado, as well as a news anchor and reporter for the Cayuga Radio Group. She has been honored with an Outstanding Spot News award from the NY State Broadcaster’s Assocation in 2017, and WHCU’s Evening Newswatch, of which Swinnerton was an anchor, was also honored for Outstanding Local News Cast.
“Jamie’s prior experience as a local broadcast reporter with WHCU and most recently the editor and reporter for three of the Finger Lakes Community Newspapers provide a unique insight on Tompkins County,” said Mallinson. “Jamie came through the Park School at Ithaca College and is very passionate about getting the complete story.”
Montana said he has thoroughly enjoyed his experience working for Mallinson and Tompkins Weekly.
“Todd’s commitment to putting out a publication that connects with readers from all parts of Tompkins County is unparalleled in our area,” he said. “I’ve had the great fortune to work for a variety of publications in my career, and Tompkins Weekly is truly a special paper.
“I’ve enjoyed Jamie’s work for a while now, and I think she is a terrific choice,” Montana added. “While I will not be staying in the area, I will be excited to follow Tompkins Weekly as it continues to grow in stature under the leadership of Jamie and Todd.”
For the past 11 years, Tompkins Weekly has covered 16 municipalities and a diverse population in Tompkins County, which encompasses more than 100,000 residents. The paper highlights the issues, people, organizations and businesses in the county.
The opportunity to try new things with regard to local news reporting is something Swinnerton is excited about in the new opportunity.
“Tompkins Weekly is a paper that has the capacity to change and grow in so many ways, just like the community it serves,” she said. “I’m very excited to experiment and seek out new ways of storytelling to expand the great work that Tompkins Weekly has already done.
“I look forward to interacting with the community and our readers to find out what they need from this publication, and how we can work together to get it,” added Swinnerton.
Looking ahead, she said she thinks local news should be a mix of education and entertainment.
“My vision for the future of the paper is not unlike what I have seen it accomplish already,” Swinnerton said. “I want the paper to be an asset to its readers, always giving you something educational or interesting about your community.
“I want this paper to remain the trusted source for local information and news that my predecessor, Rob Montana, helped to cultivate,” she added. “But, like any managing editor, I want to expand the paper’s reach and find new audiences. It is my goal to reach out to the Tompkins County community and find what’s missing, fill a gap that is being missed.”