The leader of The Gazette’s newsroom for the past six years will retire in April.
Editor Sid Schwartz’s decision came after the death of his wife, Julie, in February after a long illness. He said The Gazette and owners Adams Publishing Group were supportive during that difficult time.
“This is completely my decision to retire,” Schwartz said, and his decision came down to being financially able to do so.
Orestes Baez, regional president and publisher for APG-Southern Wisconsin Group, informed employees of Schwartz’s departure Thursday.
“We thank Sid for his years of work for The Gazette,” Baez said. “Sid has helped our Adams Publishing newsrooms get better. We are saddened by the circumstances that led to his departure and wish him and his family good thoughts and prayers.”
Baez said he would first seek internal candidates for the editor post, and if that doesn’t work out, an external search would target “a digitally savvy newsroom leader who can help move our newsrooms more into the future with data analytics and enterprise story-creation leadership.”
Schwartz worked as a reporter and editor in Janesville for 30 years. His favorite parts of the job included covering education, police and the courts, he said.
“For all these years, we’ve just done our best to produce the best journalism we know how. That’s not easy, but it’s crucial for our democracy, and I feel good for having contributed something to that noble cause,” he said.
The Reedsburg native graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 1984 and was editor of the Vernon County Broadcast-Censor in 1984-86 before taking a reporting job for the Beloit Daily News, where he became city editor.
The Gazette hired Schwartz as a reporter in 1990 and promoted him to news editor in 2006. He has played a key role in guiding local news coverage for 15 years. He was chosen to replace Scott Angus in the newsroom’s top job in March 2015.
Schwartz’s leadership contributed to The Gazette’s winning of Newspaper of the Year for the past six years in the Wisconsin Newspaper Association contest. He was known for his drive to put out a good newspaper, his calm and steady focus in the the face of daily pressures, good humor, and understanding of the difficulties reporters face.
Adams Publishing Group bought the newspaper in 2019. Schwartz was appointed editor of the company’s newspapers in southern Wisconsin the next year, adding to his Gazette duties. Schwartz also took on the role of editor of the Beloit Daily News with the retirement of his former boss, Bill Barth, last November.
Schwartz said he had no immediate plans other than to take a break and complete some home projects. “And then, we’ll see,” he said.