Gazette Editor Scott Angus stepping down; Sid Schwartz named successor

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Jim Leute
January 28, 2015

JANESVILLE—As a respected newspaperman, Scott Angus has chased deadlines for 36 years.

Daily deadlines will be a thing of the past when Angus retires after more than 36 years with The Gazette, including the last 25 as its editor.

“It's a wonderful job—and I've loved it—but it's all-consuming,” said Angus, who announced his retirement to The Gazette's newsroom staff Wednesday.

“You're never off duty. I want to take time to decompress.”

Sid Schwartz, the newspaper's local news editor since 2005, will replace Angus in mid-March.

Angus, 58, is a Fort Atkinson native whose father was editor of the Daily Jefferson County Union for nearly 40 years.

He got his start in journalism working for his father's paper in high school and college.

After graduating in 1978 from UW-Madison's journalism school, Angus started as a reporter at The Janesville Gazette.

He was promoted to city editor, news editor and managing editor before being named editor in 1990. He was named vice president of news at Bliss Communications in 2005.

Under Angus' leadership, The Gazette earned a reputation as one of the country's leading newspapers.

In 2004, he led a redesign that produced an innovative format intended to be easier to read and to have greater appeal to light readers. Inland Press Association selected the redesign as one of the year's top 10 newspaper innovations, while Editor & Publisher selected the paper as one of “Ten That Do It Right.”

In addition, The Gazette was named Wisconsin's best newspaper in its circulation class in 2000, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Results for 2014 aren't yet available.

Angus served two terms on the board of directors of the Associated Press Managing Editors and was president of the Wisconsin AP Editors Association.

“Scott is among the finest editors of newspapers this size in America,” said Skip Bliss, publisher of The Gazette and owner of Bliss Communications.

“For some people, longevity in business is akin to doing it the same old way, day after day, year after year. That's not the case with Scott, who continually looked for ways to innovate and teach young reporters.

“This newspaper and this community are better because of Scott Angus.”

Angus said he and his wife, Gail, are planning a few trips.

He also plans to play more golf.

“I have three adult sons nearby, and I have a beautiful little granddaughter whom I plan to spend time with and spoil even more than I have in the past,” he said.

Angus said retirement was entirely his decision.

In time, he will seek work that uses his skills and experience but less of his time.

“The time feels right for me to step down and make way for new leadership,” he said. “It also opens the door for new ideas and new energy at a time when the industry needs both.”

A Reedsburg native, Schwartz graduated in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

He was editor of the weekly Vernon County Broadcaster-Censor from 1984 to 1986 and then spent four years as a reporter and city editor at the Beloit Daily News.

Schwartz, 53, joined The Gazette in 1990 as education reporter and later was police and courts reporter.

He became The Gazette's local news editor in 2005.

“Scott Angus has set a high standard for The Gazette,” Schwartz said. “He's been an innovator and a great mentor.

“He led the way to make The Gazette a prize-winning newspaper.”

In today's fast-changing media landscape, The Gazette won't rest on its laurels, Schwartz said.

Angus and Schwartz have been reviewing Gazette content to determine how the newspaper can be even more relevant and engaging.

“What will not change is our commitment to covering local news, which is our franchise, and holding government accountable, which is our constitutional responsibility,” Schwartz said.

“We have a team of talented journalists, and I look forward to leading them as we adjust to meet the challenges of the future.”

Bliss said Schwartz is a talented newsman with a track record of newsroom leadership.

“He's demonstrated time and time again that he can lead a newsroom in the right direction,” Bliss said. “We're so fortunate that he has been a part of this newsroom as long as he has.

“He's a good, hard newsman who knows this town. He has empathy, but he's strong. Sid will come in with Sid's ideas and goals, and that will bring a new level of energy.”

Angus said he would be an interested observer.

“The newsroom is in great hands,” he said. “Sid Schwartz has the highest journalistic and ethical standards, and he's a proven leader.

“It makes it much easier to leave knowing that Sid will be in charge.”

Angus said he's proud of The Gazette's accomplishments and he's fortunate to have worked with dozens of outstanding journalists.

He said the support he's received from Bliss and his company is the primary reason he spent his entire career in Janesville.

“This is a special place,” he said. “I appreciate it, and I hope the community does, as well.

“… I said many times that I had the best job in Janesville. I truly did. It's just time for a change.”

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