After seven years of covering Darien from countless angles, Susan Shultz will become the fourth editor of The Darien Times, effective Aug. 2. Current Editor Joshua Fisher is being transferred to become editor of Hersam Acorn’s flagship newspaper, the New Canaan Advertiser.
“We are thrilled to have Susan take the editor’s chair in Darien,” said Martin Hersam, the company’s chief operating officer. “Her vast experience covering Darien will server her and The Times very well.”
Fisher said the change is bittersweet. “I’m so proud of what we’ve done here at The Darien Times,” he said. “And it’s really sad to leave a community I spent time growing up in and have loved to cover. But I’m thrilled that Susan is taking over. Without her, The Darien Times wouldn’t be what it is today. And I know that she, David DesRoches, Steve Buono and Lauren Spicehandler will continue to bring Darien a great weekly newspaper and daily news website.” Shultz, a mother of two girls who grew up on Staten Island, started as reporter at The Darien Times in 2005, covering the schools and finance board. Her 2007 coverage of the St. John Parish priest scandal earned her a first place award by the New England Press Association, and she also earned a second place award in 2008 along with Fisher for continued coverage of the scandal. The Darien Times won an award for general excellence the next year.
Her education coverage was also recognized in 2008, when she earned an award for reporting on a special education case. She’s also interviewed some of Darien’s more well-known residents, including Topher Grace, Chlöe Sevigny and Scott Pelley.
“Few journalists are as connected to their community as Susan is,” Hersam said. “She brings a combination of old-school beat reporting and new media journalism to her editorship that gives her all the tools to build on what Josh — and to a great extent Susan — have done. It’s going to be a very easy transition.”
Shultz, a former Darien resident, lives in Wilton with her husband and two daughters, Lucy, 5, and Annabelle, 3.
As editor, Shultz will continue to cover the Board of Selectman and help carry The Times further into the digital age. Shultz said taking over the editorship is bittersweet, as she and Fisher have cultivated a strong working relationship that has helped keep Darien residents informed of important town and regional issues.
Fisher took over The Times in 2005, and has been integral to taking The Times to its next level, Shultz said. She added she’s been able to watch the paper evolve as she and Fisher started at the paper within a few months of each other.
The Darien Times was the first to offer Darien readers a local daily news website back in early 2006; DarienTimes.com now gets more than 100,000 unique page views a month.
“Josh has been the perfect editor to usher The Darien Times into the age of social media and online presence,” Shultz said. “His awareness of online trends has kept the paper on the cutting edge for the many who get their news and local updates via Twitter, Facebook, our new interactive mobile sites for town events, or our new website.
Shultz said The Times has become the go-to place for residents when big storms hit to get updates on power outages, road closures and more on what’s going on around town.
“He has also turned the paper version into the ultimate community newspaper,” Shultz said of Fisher. “Style redesigns, font changes, content changes throughout the years, including special mast heads for holidays, make The Darien Times newspaper one that is sought out each Thursday. And of course, the Memorial Day tribute to veterans that has come to mean so much to the town and was recently awarded by New England Newspaper & Press Association.”
Fisher has also made The Darien Times a voice to be reckoned with in local and state politics, Shultz added. “The Darien Times’ endorsements are considered an important part of the local and state elections and the paper hosts candidates for those elections at its weekly coffee,” Shultz said.
Fisher has helped created a news source in The Darien Times that actively competes for readers on the online level as that market grows, but still maintains true to the integrity of a local newspaper, Shultz said.
Hersam said Fisher has been “a fantastic editor in Darien.”
“He has safeguarded the paper’s tradition as an independent voice and a true mirror of the community,” Hersam said.
“I’m honored to be taking over a newspaper that the Hersam Family founded 104 years ago,” Fisher said. “I’m going to really miss all the wonderful people in Darien we’ve covered, gotten to meet and the many who have become friends. But nothing makes me happier than seeing my amazing assistant editor, Susan Shultz, taking over The Darien Times.”