Long-time Managing Editor Cory Lancaster's last day is March 29; prep sports writer Brian Linder bolting, too
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Editor Pat Rice got bummed out when up-and-coming county government agenda reporter Andrew Gant, who followed him from Panama City to Daytona back in 2012, got hired away by the Volusia County Sheriff's Office nearly a year ago to crank out the steady diet of press releases the newspaper has long since come to rely upon so heavily to supplement its daily news coverage. Especially with continuing personnel cuts after the newspaper was purchased in a federal court-ordered firesale following a lawsuit brought by Cox Enterprises, which was the mninority partner with the Davidson Family.
But even after Gant's departure, Rice thought he had found a diamond in the rough in Chris Graham as his next county government beat reporter, until, he too, was snatched up -- this time by longtime DeLand City Mayor Bob Apgar to do PR for that municipality earlier this year. After all, Rice has jettisoned dozens of staffers in the last three years under his second employer Gatehouse Media, which is even more of a penny-pincher than the fitst company to buy out the Davidsons -- Halifax Media, led by a former classified sales manager
Things have gotten so bad for Rice wih personnel staff shortages that recently his "byline" appeared on a Saturday story on the front page, no less, regading homeless people camped out in front of the county tag office on Beach Street in Daytona Beach.
Things have gotten progressively worse with the latest personnel the News-Journal is trying to keep a lid on: It's most talented holdover from the Davidson Family era, Managing Editor Cory Lancaster, is quitting the News-Journal.
"It's effective March 29, her last day," a trusted inside soure told Headline Surfer® on condition the staffer's name would not be published. "This was her decision -- it's not like they were making cuts to try to save a buck, at least not this time around with her because she did a lot of the heavy lifting for Editor Pat Rice."
"It's effective March 29, her last day," a trusted inside source told Headline Surfer® on condition the staffer's name would not be published. "This was her decision -- it's not like they were making cuts to try to save a buck, at least not this time around with her because she did a lot of the heavy lifting for Editor Pat Rice."
Lancaster is more than a Centra Florida name in Central Florida news -- she has star power -- the pedigree -- the last of the big-time star reporters -- like Kathy Kelly, Joe Holland, Joseph Ditzler and most comparably, the writer of this story, Henry Frederick, who was among the Daytona Beach newspaper's most prolific byline producers for nearly a decade before his run ended in late 2004, along with winning more journalism awards for the newspapre than any other reporter in its storied history -- far more than even Kelly, Holland and Ditzler combined despite their far longer collective tenure of close to 60 years, compared to his 8 1/2 years.
A lot of Lancaster's biggest byline stories were generated when she worked as a metro reporter for the Orlando Sentinel in the 19980s and most of the 1990s before sh became a general assignment reporter for "Stars and Stripes" in Germany before she was hired by the News-Journal in the early 2000s.
Lancaster was hired initially as a "business" reporter for a short time and promoted to Managing Editor by then-Editor Don Lindley when the newspaper was under the majority ownership of the Davidson Family, led by patriarch Tippen Davidson. The Davidsonsw ere in the process of building the Cultural Arts Center, the precursor for what would be News-Journal Center on North Beach Street