Longtime publisher retires
Catherine Moore has worked for Enterprise 47 years, 31 at helm
SARANAC LAKE — Catherine Moore is retiring next week as publisher of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and Lake Placid News. She has held the papers’ top job for the last 31 years and has worked at the Enterprise for 47 years.
Her last day of work will be next Friday, Aug. 14. She said she had planned to retire in April but postponed it four months as the papers scrambled to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moore’s time span at the helm of the Enterprise is tied with the 31-year term of John Ridenour, who owned the paper from 1918 to 1949 and made it a six-day-a-week daily in 1926. It is still the only daily newspaper published inside the Adirondack Park.
Ogden Newspapers, which has owned the Enterprise and News since the late 1970s, has not yet announced the hiring of a new publisher. This will be only the third publisher transition at the Enterprise since 1953.
Moore grew up in Stony Brook, Long Island and moved to Saranac Lake in 1972 to attend North Country Community College along with her then-boyfriend, now-husband Jack Moore. She often tells the story of her first day in town, drinking a beer in the Coach and Four bar where the Enterprise is now located — standing, in fact, in what is now her front-corner office — watching snow fall out the window and saying of the village, “I love this place; I never want to leave.”
The following year the Enterprise moved to that location, and shortly afterward, in 1973, Enterprise Circulation Manager Jim Bishop hired Moore as a part-time assistant.
She had majored in art at NCCC, and in her spare time at the Enterprise she would help draw ads. Owner and Publisher Bill Doolittle noticed her talent and hired her full-time in the advertising department, and in 1978 she was promoted to ad manager. On top of her many sales calls, she got involved in community affairs, serving on the board of the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and as president of the now-defunct Saranac Lake Business Association. She remains an active board member of the Tri-Lakes Humane Society.
When Doolittle retired in 1989, he recommended Ogden hire Moore to succeed him.
“Cathy was the natural choice,” Doolittle told the Enterprise for its 125th anniversary special section last year. “She was the leader by then.”
“Over a fantastic career, Cathy Moore showed you can be a genuine, level-headed person even in the chaos that often ensues while putting out a daily publication,” said John Penney, the Enterprise’s managing editor from 1989 to 1998 who now handles communications for the city of Poughkeepsie and Dutchess County. “I truly hope people recognize and celebrate all the hard work that she has put in for the betterment of the community.”
Moore oversaw many changes in her first decade at the helm: going from black-and-white to color, switching from paste-up to computer page layout, upping the Enterprise from five days to six (it had previously been six from 1926 to 1962), and celebrating the Enterprise’s 100th anniversary. In her second decade as publisher the paper switched to digital photography, celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Lake Placid News, added numerous special sections and got a computer-to-plate machine that let it skip several steps in the pre-press process. Her third decade has been largely marked by weathering the survival struggles all local newspapers have faced since the 2008 recession. Last year the Enterprise switched from an afternoon paper to a morning paper, and this year it brought back a subscription requirement for its website, which it previously had from 2015 to 2016.
The newspapers’ staff has stayed at a relatively steady level, even though — as with newspapers nationwide — circulation and advertising have declined since a 1990s peak.
“We have good journalists and a good staff, and they deserve to be paid,” Moore said in an interview for the Enterprise’s 125th anniversary.
The 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid were among the wilder times of her career, when she was dealing with national advertising clients for a seven-day-a-week special the Enterprise and News published during the games, called the Daily Olympic Digest. During her time as publisher, the papers have sent reporters to three Winter Olympics in 2002, 2010 and 2014.
Moore’s current and former colleagues and members of the community described her as positive-minded yet grounded, committed to readers and driven to find the revenue needed to keep the papers going.
“Cathy is such a genuine and thoughtful person, and I am so thankful for the many great conversations we’ve had through the years,” said state Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury. “When we have sat down in her office to talk about issues, her questions have always been about what more could be done to help people.”
“She is so bright, always committed to the community, and a lovely person,” said Jim Rogers of Lake Placid, who with his wife owned the Saranac Lake-based radio station WNBZ from 1963 to 1998.
“Cathy is the consummate example of a publisher — dedicated to her community, a savvy businesswoman who kept the presses running constantly, and, importantly, fearless,” said Ed Forbes, who worked at the Enterprise from 2002 to 2004 and was Lake Placid News editor from 2004 to 2007.
Moore has also been a board member of the New York Press Association, New York News Publishers Association and both organizations’ foundations.
“Cathy Moore is a fabulous friend and a great cheerleader for community newspapers,” said Michelle Rea, executive director of the New York Press Association.
“More than most, you can attest to the titanic changes that have buffeted newspapers over the decades,” said Christopher Mele, a New York Times editor who got his start as an Enterprise reporter from 1986 to 1988, addressing his comment to Moore. “But through all of them, you’ve been a steady guiding presence. If ever you were frustrated or disappointed by a setback, I can’t say you ever let it show. You have been a stalwart advocate for the value of local community news.”
(Editor’s note: The Enterprise and Lake Placid News will publish more comments on Moore’s career from colleagues and community members next week.)