Changes at the Cooperstown Crier will bring a well-earned retirement for its managing editor of news and move its reporter into the top spot.
Jim Austin came to the weekly newspaper in February 1996, about a year after it was founded by The Daily Star. Friday will be his last day at the helm.
“I am at the point in my life where I have some other interests I’d like to pursue,” The 63-year-old Pittsfield resident said Tuesday about his decision to retire now. “At my age, it’s more important to have the opportunity to do some of those things I have put on the back burner.”
He plans on focusing a great deal of attention on pursuing his interest in growing nutrient-dense organic vegetables. While it is a small commercial enterprise, his main interest is in the nutritional value it can supply to his family.
Daily Star Editor Sam Pollak said: “It’s been a privilege to have Austin as a colleague. His dedication to providing Cooperstown-area readers with the news they need has been unparalleled, and his encyclopedic knowledge of local events, personalities and history will be sorely missed.”
Publisher Mitchell Lynch said: “We will miss him and his institutional knowledge of Cooperstown and The Crier. We wish him the best with his future endeavors.”
Austin said he will miss a number of the people he has gotten to know over the years, and to some extent, the community at large.
“Cooperstown is a fairly unique community. It’s been an enjoyable place to work,” he said.
He grew up in Michigan and left the University of Michigan, where he majored in psychology, to follow other interests. In the 1970s he worked for a weekly newspaper, before moving with his family to New York in the latter part of the decade as a self-employed craftsperson. In the mid-1980s he purchased and ran the New Berlin Gazette, and sold it 10 years later. Two months after that he saw an ad in The Cooperstown Crier and, “I’ve been here ever since.”