Magazine article Editor & Publisher

An Unusual Career Move

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

An Unusual Career Move

Article excerpt

WEB ACE GETS BACK TO HIS RURAL ROOTS

After building an award-winning Web site from scratch and then leading TampaBay.com, Ron Dupont goes back to gatorland

Has Ronald Dupont Jr. gone crazy? He recently left his job as general manager of new media for Florida's largest weekday newspaper, the St. Petersburg Times, to become editor (again) of The High Springs Herald, one of the Sunshine State's smallest weeklies with an estimated circulation of 5,000. The Herald doesn't even have a Web site ... yet.

As Dupont explains his unusual career move, it quickly becomes clear that his new job is probably more destiny than lunacy. Dupont was editor from 1990 to 1995 in High Springs, about 20 minutes northwest of Gainesville, and he's missed a lot of things about editing the small- town newspaper. From High Springs, he moved on to the daily Charlotte Sun in Charlotte Harbor, Fla., where he gained notice for building an impressive, award-winning Web site that became a force in the community. In 1998, Dupont left for the big time in Tampa Bay, where he also found success. Says his former boss, Times Chief Technology Officer Beth Sholar: "Ron Dupont led tremendous advances in our Web offerings, projecting endless enthusiasm for the Web operation and its potential. His accomplishments were numerous and contributed to making sptimes.com and tampabay.com noteworthy in our industry."

So why go back to his roots now? The reasons are as much personal as professional. "I've missed the impact that a small-town newspaper can have on its community," Dupont says. "When I was [previously] editor of The High Springs Herald, we did some world-class journalism on our way to doubling the circulation and being named the best small weekly paper in Florida, four years straight."

Dupont particularly recalls the night he spent with migrant workers who were paying mucho dollars to live in a roach-ridden shack without electricity or plumbing. …

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