Longtime TPN general manager to retire after 35 years at paper

Terry+Lucas%2C+the+general+manager+of+The+Pitt+News%2C+is+set+to+retire+at+the+end+of+September+after+35+years+at+the+paper.+

Sarah Cutshall | Visual Editor

Terry Lucas, the general manager of The Pitt News, is set to retire at the end of September after 35 years at the paper.

By Natalie Frank, Staff Writer

When Terry Lucas started working at The Pitt News at 27 years old, he had no idea that two years on the job would turn into more than three decades. Lucas, the general manager of The Pitt News, is set to retire at the end of September after 35 years at the paper.

“That’s the one thing about working at a newspaper — time flies,” Lucas said.

A Pittsburgh native, Lucas received his undergraduate degree in journalism and communication from Point Park University in 1981. He began writing at his college newspaper and eventually became the business manager, deeming himself a “product of a college newspaper.”

After working for the Virginia-based publishing company Gannett for five years, Lucas was hired in the ’80s as the business advertising adviser for The Pitt News. After about 10 years, Lucas was hired as the general manager, the position he still holds.

Lucas said his time at The Pitt News was filled with many accomplishments, from seeing the 110-year-old paper’s first online edition come to life to the beginning of publishing a print paper five days a week for the first time.

One of his greatest memories, Lucas said, was when he was part of an extensive legal battle beginning in 1998, where Act 199 — which stated that college newspapers could not publish advertisements relating to alcohol — was overturned. After being part of the legal process that sued the state of Pennsylvania, Lucas said it took several years to finally change the “misguided” law.

“It was cool to work with six generations of editors and business managers to overturn a law that was significant when it comes to student media law and student media press rights,” Lucas said.

Kenyon Bonner, the vice provost and dean of students, said he recognized Lucas’ passion for The Pitt News after he met Lucas while touring different student activities when he first came to Pitt in 2005.

“From the moment that I met Terry and we talked about The Pitt News, it was clear how passionate he was about an independent student newspaper,” Bonner said.

Bonner said Lucas has always been one to stand up for the First Amendment rights of students and contributed to the experiential learning aspect of the student paper. He added that he found Lucas to be “a really good partner, really helpful colleague and a great advocate for The Pitt News and our students.”

“I thank him for making Pitt, student life and The Pitt News better for those who follow,” Bonner said. “I congratulate him on his well-deserved retirement. I will miss him.”

Alex Rea, the business manager of The Pitt News, recalled one of her favorite memories from working with Lucas, when they attended a journalism conference in San Francisco together.

“I’ve never really interacted with people beyond our offices in that field, and he made me feel really comfortable meeting everybody and instilling in me that I know what I’m doing,” Rea said.

Rea, a junior political science and public and professional writing double major, said Lucas was especially helpful in not only recommending her for her current position, but always bringing a positive attitude to the workplace and frequently offering affirmations to staff members.

Lucas facilitated many changes during his time at The Pitt News, including working with The Pitt News advisory board to create scholarships for the editor-in-chief and business manager.

Lucas also talked highly of the professional staff at The Pitt News, some of which he has worked with for decades.

“It’s been a pleasure and enjoyment to work with people who are so dedicated and committed to providing this experience for students called The Pitt News,” Lucas said.

Harry Kloman, the news adviser for The Pitt News, has worked with Lucas for 22 years. He said Lucas has always been devoted to bettering the newspaper, something that will surely be missed after his departure.

“We have this common goal of wanting to help the students at The Pitt News learn and produce a good newspaper and he is deeply committed to that, always has been,” Kloman said. “He’s lost sleep over it.”

Kloman said he thinks one of the most notable achievements of Lucas’ career at TPN has been his ability to continue the newspaper’s financial independence from the University to the greatest degree possible.

“In the last 10 years, as revenues continue to decline, more and more schools have had to cut back and ask for more money,” Kloman said. “But not The Pitt News, and that’s because of Terry’s financial leadership.”

Kloman said while some other collegiate newspapers get nearly half a million dollars in funds to produce their papers, The Pitt News has been able to sustain its mostly financially independent status for much longer thanks to Lucas’ work as the general manager.

“He kept this paper from having to ask for money, being truly independent for almost a decade longer than some other student newspapers and that is a phenomenal achievement,” Kloman said.

Lucas said one aspect of the newspaper that he is particularly proud of is the large number of alumni who go on to write for big-name magazines and newspapers. He said he often finds himself seeing students he worked with in the past in the staff lists of publications such as Esquire Magazine.

“I can open up the staff box and see there’s editors that I’ve worked with at The Pitt News that are editors at those magazines,” Lucas said. “The same holds true for picking up The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times.”

Lucas said he plans on taking some time to relax after his retirement at the end of month, but sees himself continuing to work in the future, possibly for a local nonprofit related to the arts.

“It’s just a matter of time to find and establish a new purpose in my life,” Lucas said.

While he is proud of his achievements, Lucas said the students he has worked with are most important and are who he is going to miss the most.

“I’ve been really blessed with getting, what I believe, are the best and brightest that Pitt has to offer,” Lucas said. “That, to me, is what I will miss the most.”

 

A previous version of this story incorrectly said Lucas created The Pitt News Advisory Board. The article has been updated to reflect this. The Pitt News regrets this error.

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