PLATTSBURGH, NY — Robert W. “Bob” Parks, longtime publisher of the Plattsburgh Press-Republican, announced Wednesday he is retiring after a four-decade career in the newspaper business.
Parks has served as publisher of the paper since 2000, leading it smartly into the digital era by introducing website and mobile phone platforms that have attracted audience from throughout the North Country and beyond.
“I am retiring from a very good newspaper,” said Parks. “The Press-Republican serves a great community in print and online, and that’s a tribute to the dedicated staff that takes its mission to heart to serve the community every day.”
Robin Quillon, regional executive for Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc., parent company of the Press-Republican, praised Parks for his commitment to the community, noting that he has been active in several business and civic organizations as well as the newspaper industry.
“Bob Parks has built a reputation as a go-to leader in the community and at the Press-Republican,” said Quillon. “We heartily applaud his contributions to both over the years.”
Quillon said a search for Parks successor would begin immediately.
Parks began his newspaper career more than 40 years ago as editor of his college newspaper at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, his hometown. His first professional job after college was sales representative for The Herald in Sharon, Pennsylvania in 1975.
He later served in executive roles, including general manager and publisher, with other newspapers in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, North Carolina, Kentucky and Port Jervis, New York. Twenty-five of those years were spent on assignment with the former Ottaway Newspapers.
During his time at the Press-Republican he has served on several nonprofit boards of directors, including the North County Chamber of Commerce and Community Providers, Inc. He was also a member of the board of the New York Press Association and the New York State Newspapers Foundation.
Parks described the Press-Republican’s comprehensive coverage of the Dannemora prison break by two convicted killers in June as one of his proudest times as publisher. The daring escape had the Plattsburgh area on edge for 23 days before one convict was shot to death and the other shot and captured.
“It was a highlight of my career, without a doubt,” said Parks. “The entire staff came together and produced print and online coverage that kept people informed throughout the ordeal. We provided essential and trustworthy journalism for a shaken community. It made me extremely proud of our role as the local newspaper and the most reliable source on what quickly became a national story.”
Over the decades, said Parks, he has strived to “hold true to producing every day a newspaper that provides local information and editorials that are useful to readers. As long as newspapers continue to do that, they will continue to thrive.”
Parks said he and his wife, Linda, plan to continue to live in Plattsburgh, and stay active in community affairs.
The Press-Republican is a CNHI newspaper. Based in Montgomery, Alabama, CNHI is a leading publisher of local news and information. Its newspapers, websites and specialty publications serve communities in 23 states.