Thursday, January 24, 2013 12:14 am
By Tom Rivers email@example.com
BATAVIA — Ben Beagle, a lifestyles and arts editor who also amassed numerous Associated Press and community awards, has taken a job as managing editor at The Livingston County News in Geneseo.
The LCN is a sister publication of The Daily News. Both newspapers are owned by the Johnson Newspaper Corporation, based in Watertown.
Beagle, 42, has given the arts prominent coverage during his 18 years with The Daily News. He also expanded the Lifestyles section on Saturdays. That section covers a range of topics, including serious ones such as suicide, changing local demographics, and mental health issues.
“With Lifestyles, you can bring more of a human connection to readers,” Beagle said. “I’ve worked with the writers to use Lifestyles as an opportunity to take on something more challenging.”
Beagle has written many of the articles himself, racking up many awards and earning respect in the community. He has been honored by the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council and Arts Council of Wyoming County. The Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia named him a “Friend of the Year.”
“He has really made an effort to reach out to the arts and cultural community and put them in the forefront,” said Kelly Kiebala, the GO Art! executive director. “He has made the arts just as much as priority as other news, which is as it should be.”
Beagle featured local artists when they had exhibits, and when a local moved away and starred on Broadway or won an Emmy. He has written about Le Roy native John Bolton and his leading roles on the stage in New York City.
Beagle also contacted Batavia native Josh Earl, a film editor for Discovery’s popular reality drama “Deadliest Catch.” The show has won several Emmy Awards. Beagle also has interviewed Ben Shearin, another Batavia native, who worked on the show’s award-winning cinematography team.
Beagle also has made a big push in recent years to feature high school musicals, including video presentations on the newspaper’s web site.
“We’ve never hurt for stories,” Beagle said about the numerous subjects to write about on the local arts scene. “The rich arts and cultural community that we have in the GLOW region is what gives us a rich quality of life.”
Beagle has also written hard-news stories for the newspaper, covering Darien Lake, local schools and other events.
‘‘Ben is proficient at every aspect of print and online journalism, including page layout, editing and reporting,’’ Daily News Managing Editor Mark Graczyk said. ‘‘He will be tough to replace. In fact, he’s irreplaceable.’’
Beagle said he is grateful for the freedom at The Daily News to write and edit, and also be involved in community causes. He has been on The Tale for Three Counties planning committee since that effort started in 2003.
The newspaper partners with 19 local libraries and Genesee Community College on the reading project. The three counties select a book as a group reading project and the author comes and visits Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties for three days in March.
“Ben has had a huge impact on Tale in ways that we could never imagined when we started out,” said Leslie DeLooze, a Tale committee member and librarian at the Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia. “He has gone above and beyond.”
Beagle coordinates the coverage and interviews the authors. He set up an essay contest for readers to win a lunch with the author. He manages the Tale blog and recommends books to other committee members for the Tale.
He has become good friends with some of the authors. One of the Tale writers, Julia Spencer-Fleming, made Beagle a fictional character in her murder mystery series. That Ben Beagle is an investigative reporter who wears loosely knotted Snoopy ties. (Just like the real Ben Beagle.)
Beagle will continue working on the Tale project at least through this March.
“It’s been tremendously beneficial working with the writers,” he said about the visiting authors. “It’s made me more willing to try things.”
Beagle said he has been happy at The Daily News, but welcomed the chance to serve as managing editor. The Livingston County News is a weekly paper with a Web site that is frequently updated. That job is close enough that he won’t move from Le Roy.
“A lot of what I liked about the news business still exists in Batavia,” Beagle said. “It’s still a community newspaper. That’s why I stayed there for 18 years.”
He sees the job at the LCN as a chance to be more involved in the shape of a publication.
“I still have the passion and energy to try to make a difference,” he said. “I decided it was time to go out and go for it.”
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Courtesy of Batavia Newspapers Corporation