Daytona Beach News-Journal Managing Editor Cory Lancaster calling it quits

Today last day; prep sports writer Brian Linder bolting, too

Cory Lancaster quitting as managing editor of the Daytona Beach News-Journal  / Headline Surfer®Brian Linder, prep sports writer quitting the Daytona Beach News-Journal / Headline Surfer®Photos for Headline Surfer® /

Cory Lancaster, longtime managing editor of the Daytona Beach News-Journal, and prominent in Central Florida for two decades as a senior metro reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, shown at left with News-Journal Editor Pat Rice, is quitting the print newspaper in Daytona as is Brian Linder, (shown in insdet) high school sports prep writer. They are among the latest wave of veterans leaving the newspaper that a decade ago was a bonafide metro with a daily circulation exceeding 100,000 and more than 800 employeees. The circulation has plummeted to less than half and the number of employees is less than a hundred. The newspaper isn't evevn designed locally any more. It's produced at a warehouse in Texas owned by Gatehouse Media, the News-Journal's parent company.
 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Editor Pat Rice got bummed out when up-and-coming Volusia County government 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.

Reliance on press releaases has become the norm, especially with continuing personnel cuts after the newspaper was purchased in a federal court-ordered firesale back in 2012, following a lawsuit brought by Cox Enterprises, which was the mninority partner with then-owners, the Davidson Family, led by the late patriarch Tippen Davidson.

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 a couple months ago  -- this time by longtime DeLand City Mayor Bob Apgar to do PR for that municipality.

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 first company to acquire the newspaper -- 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: Its 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." 

 

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: Its 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." 

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

Henry Frederick Picture

Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com for a decade now. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.