NORTH ADAMS -- Frederic Rutberg, president/publisher and co-owner of The Berkshire Eagle is bringing one in a series of "coffee and conversation" meetings with the public to the new location of BrewHaHa! cafe/restaurant at 437 West Main St., in North Adams on Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. It's a chance for readers -- print and Internet -- to provide suggestions and constructive feedback on the news organization's efforts.
For two decades The Eagle and its sister papers in Brattleboro, Bennington and Manchester, Vt., were owned by a Denver-based chain which gradually reduced the size of its newsroom, closed The Transcript and The Advocate weekly and raised subscription rates. In May 2016, four businessmen -- three of them with homes in the Berkshires, purchased the papers for a undisclosed sum and have adding reporters, editors, graphic artists and other support staff in Pittsfield with the goal of creating "the finest community newspaper group in America."
Rutberg, a retired state district-court judge who lives in Stockbridge, has been operational leader of the new owners of New England Newspaper Inc. (NENI). Shortly after the ownership change, Rutberg inaugurated a circuit-riding approach to checking in with readers, appearing at coffee shops and other venues throughout the Berkshires. Friday's visit is at least the third in northern Berkshire County.
"Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and get to know our president and publlisher, editor and other key managers," says a invitational advertisement which appeared in an edition of last week's paper. "Tell us about your neighborhood, ask us questions, share your concenrs, or stop in just to chat. The coffee is free, the conversatoin is informal and information . . . . "