I want to correct something in Stan Hudy’s farewell column about leaving The Saratogian and Community News after 23 years to work for the Schenectady-based Daily Gazette.
“You can credit, or blame, Barbara Lombardo who took mercy on a then 30-something out of work writer looking to get into the business,” Stan wrote.
He’s mistaken. Mercy had nothing to do with it.
I hired dozens of people during my decades running the newsroom. Right up until I left in 2015, I prided myself on spotting budding journalists who demonstrated talent, potential and a hunger in their belly to dive into a job for which the shamefully low pay is rivaled only by the excessive hours and inhumane schedule.
Stan demonstrated all those positive attributes and something more (no, Stan, I’m not referring to your ability to make me laugh/groan). He loves people and understands how much a community newspaper means to them. That was the clincher, and it is what continues to set Stan apart as a sportswriter, photographer, videographer, columnist, podcaster, copy editor, paginator, headline writer … what am I forgetting? Oh, yeah, Pink Sheet hawker.
Stan worked primarily for the daily Saratogian and its weekly Community News (serving southern Saratoga County), later adding on The (Troy) Record when owners merged those operations. Circulation numbers and salaries always made The Saratogian a “starter paper.” Most often applicants were 22-year-olds just getting their degree, ready to earn their chops at a small daily or even smaller weekly. Occasionally, someone with more life experience would finally follow their heart (and perhaps the advice of a life coach as opposed to a financial planner) with hopes of becoming part of the newsroom. Someone like Stan.
I used to scoff at editors of big newspapers who turned up their noses at applicants from weeklies or small dailies. Ha! My staffers often had as much talent and worked twice as hard and fast as writers, editors and photographers for the big boys. The best, like Stan, understood the importance of connecting with readers and didn’t look down their nose at hometown journalism.
I’m so glad that before she passed away last fall, Stan’s mother was able to read Sports Editor Joe Boyle’s “Mr. Pink Sheet” feature about how her son was practically a one-man band producing the daily horse racing section this past summer. A line that epitomizes Stan’s character stands out in Boyle’s piece: “Stan knew every single hawker’s name, and even knew the competition’s hawkers.”
Athletes and their coaches and families that Stan covered over the years, especially rowers and people of all ages in southern Saratoga County, can vouch for his personal touch. He admits to bleeding Shenendehowa green. He knows readers will forgive missed hyphens in a compound modifier so long as you don’t miss coverage of the moments and milestones that make their local sports meaningful.
Long story short, I didn’t hire Stan out of mercy. I simply saw someone who’d put his heart and soul into his work.
Lucky Daily Gazette.