Snyder considering her options
An executive committee has been formed to manage Eugene Weekly after the departure of Publisher Sonja Snyder earlier this month, says Editor Ted Taylor.
Snyder was told Jan. 3 that she no longer had a job at the paper she helped found 19 years ago.
“The reason that I was given was that they were eliminating my position of publisher and that they were restructuring management,” says Snyder. “Basically I was blindsided by it. I didn’t have any advance warning or notice or anything, and no chance to work on the restructuring with them, so they are going to restructure using a committee.”
The committee includes Taylor, Director of Business Development John Herron, and board member Anita Johnson, who is also a contributing editor at the paper.
“I think it really just boils down to different philosophies, different visions, just different backgrounds,” Snyder says. “I started the paper. I obviously have a different relationship to it than people that came in from the outside as investors, who don’t work there. So it was just coming from different philosophical places.”
Snyder is still a shareholder and a member of the paper’s board of directors.
Snyder has been publisher of Eugene Weekly for the past nine years and before that served as its editor and advertising manager.
“I’m leaving the paper in really good financial shape; we’ve shown our biggest operating profit in six years, “ Snyder says.
Snyder attributes the management shakeup to different outlooks among board members and shareholders who helped found the paper and more recent investors.
“Really I think there are differences between the founder/workers on the board, of which there are two, and the three outside investors, [who] form the majority, the controlling interest together,” Snyder says. “We just had insurmountable differences as to the direction of the paper, and you can’t run a paper that way.”
Snyder says the differences are about management, not political philosophies.
“We pretty much agree on political issues; it’s not that. It’s just more style and the way of relating, philosophy of management,” she says. “I think the board wanted to have a lot more direct bearing on staff issues, and I found that really difficult to work with. And they found me really difficult to work with, so … “
Now Snyder is considering life after Eugene Weekly.
“I was very upset,” she says. “This is a huge life change after 19 years. I’ve been here from the beginning as a founder.”
She says she is considering opportunities in the Eugene area as well as elsewhere.
John Ferri is a freelance writer based in Tacoma, Wash.