Santa Cruz Good Times

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Nov 27th
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Time To Say So Long

ron zion2Thanks for the Good Times

I started my first newspaper job when I was 10 years old, when I sold the Herald Express on the corner of Lankershim Boulevard and Riverside Drive in North Hollywood, Calif. The year was 1956. I stood on the corner trying to hawk the paper to passing cars stopping at the traffic light. It was boring, so I decided to put the papers on my bike and go around to all the businesses in the neighborhood, and wound up creating a route for myself, consisting of local merchants in the area. I found that to be much more productive. I received tips and sold many more papers than when I stood at the corner. My pay for selling each 10-cent paper was 3 cents. I was paid daily, and I would take my earnings down to the nearby bowling alley where I would spend it all on the baseball pinball machine. Little did I know that the newspaper business would be my career for 30-plus years.

I began my real newspaper career in 1979, at a new weekly alternative publication called the Los Angeles Reader. Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons) worked there doing a weekly cartoon column called “Binky,” and was also a paste-up artist for the paper. The Reader was a good springboard for both of us.

Since my initial foray into the world of publishing, I have done just about every job associated with newspapers. I have delivered papers, designed and sold ads, acted as an accounts receivable clerk, edited copy, assigned stories, and managed many a sales staff. I have worked at five different weekly newspapers in my career, and at one time was a part owner of the Los Angeles Reader. The one job I have never attempted is writing, but with this column, I can now add that to my list. And, for all intents and purposes, it will also be my last duty at a newspaper.

Friday, Sept. 28 will be my final day as publisher of Good Times, a position I've held for more than 10 years. I will no longer be actively involved in the everyday management of the publication, but will continue to support our mission in my new role as Director of Community Relations for Good Times.

I first came to Good Times on June 1, 2001. I knew it was the next step in my career, and I couldn’t have been more excited to get started. In looking over the paper at the time, I felt my past experience had prepared me perfectly for this challenge. I could see by the way the paper was produced that there was much that could be done to improve the quality of both the editorial and the layout of the newspaper. And, considering its leading position as the largest circulated publication in the market, almost double the circulation of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, I also knew the advertising revenue could be much more buoyant than it was at the time.

ron office250I can now gratefully look back at our newspaper's track record and know that the vision I had then has become a reality now. In fact, it has expanded a great deal over this period of time. Good Times has distinguished itself with our strong editorial coverage, the unique stories we write of courage and inspiration that focus on the people that make Santa Cruz County such a special place to live, and also with our comprehensive guide to weekly happenings.

We have also made a commitment on a weekly basis to giving nonprofit groups a voice to tell their stories, helping them create more awareness of the great work they do for so many less fortunate people in our community. I’m proud to say that the Good Times Holiday Community Fund, working in conjunction with the Community Foundation and the Packard Foundation, has raised $671,295 for 43 different nonprofit groups since 2001.

Also important is that we have been recognized by our newspaper peers, the California Newspapers Publishers Association, for our writing, graphic design, and, the most distinguished award, General Excellence, for weekly newspapers. We have also been honored by the community as Business of the Year by the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce, and we have received awards from the City of Santa Cruz Arts Commission for our commitment to the arts and by United Way for our media partnerships.

What has made my job most rewarding are the relationships that I have forged with my staff, both past and present. I have been fortunate to work with the same group of talented and dedicated managers the entire time I have been here. Many of the people have been here longer than me, and they will be here after I depart. This is so gratifying—to see people grow and develop their craft, hone their skills, and increase their knowledge. While I may have had a vision when I first took over the newspaper, my editor, Greg Archer, and my art director, Josh Becker, and their staff, have made the paper come to life every week through their words and through their images. It is so much easier to be a good leader when you have a staff that shares your passion and cares as much as you do about the work you are putting out every week.

Supported by this loyal and dedicated staff, I have been able to immerse myself in community groups such as Second Harvest Food Bank, United Way, Workforce Investment Board, Tannery Arts Center and the Downtown Santa Cruz Commission. And now I will have the opportunity to continue my involvement in these groups.

It is with humility that I thank my staff, our readers, and the greater Santa Cruz community for giving me more than 10 personally rewarding years as publisher of Good Times. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I will miss this dance, but I will find a new rhythm and, more importantly, I will still be in Santa Cruz.

—Ron Slack

Publisher (June 1, 2001–Sept. 28, 2012) This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Comments (9)Add Comment
...
written by David Comden, October 03, 2012
Ron: The passion and vigor you bring to your work makes the world, and the products you work on, a better place. Thank you for all that you have done and good luck in your new role and future.
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written by Wallace Wood, September 30, 2012
Congratulations on a decade of producing a fine weekly for the Santa Cruz area.
Good wishes for your own future career.
...
written by Melody Story-Baker, September 28, 2012
Here's someone else who's known Ron since elementary school (at which time I thought he was one of the cuter guys there, and, of course, he still is. He's also one of those people who still looks the same. Ron, I think your 10 year old customers could still pick you out in the crowd. Anyway, I just wanted to wish you well on this new chapter in your life. May it continue to be rewarding, and may our paths cross at more elementary school res in the future and maybe other venues as well. Enjoyed talkinfg to you at several of our events in past years!- Melody
...
written by Bill Farah, September 28, 2012
I knew Ron Slack (Ronnie) before he stood on that corner in North Hollywood selling papers. He has always been someone who can do anything he puts his mind to. Congratulatons on another job well done. Hope that your new endeavers will be equally rewarding. Hopefully, we will see you more often now that you have some time on your hands.
...
written by Nelson Stoll, September 28, 2012
Good luck in the next phase of your life. Enjoy! Nelson
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written by Jill Duman , September 27, 2012
Congrats Ron, on a job well done! Best of luck on the next chapter!
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written by JWH, September 27, 2012
Thank you Ron for giving me a chance and standing behind me through the challenging times. You have been an inspirational leader and good friend. Best wishes as new chapters unfold for you.
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written by Flax, September 27, 2012
Best of luck in all of your future endeavors Ron - you are an inspiring guy and I hope to see you around town soon!
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written by Steven Gaydos, September 26, 2012
I've known Ron Slack since the LA Reader circa 1982 & I've never worked with a smarter, more dedicated newsman. I'm still in the news game myself, toiling as executive editor. When I say Ron's the best, I'm comparing him to a fast and furious crowd of brilliant journalists & business execs who operate at the top of their game. He's got the winning spirit and more importantly, he cares as much today as the day I met him. Ron's world-changing might just be beginning in even more exciting, rewarding ways. God bless & get on with it, Ron!

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