GARY | In his five weeks since becoming publisher of The Times Media Co., Christopher T. White says he’s witnessed the vitality in and passion for Northwest Indiana that will continue to provide opportunities for the region’s growth and success.
White, 46, spoke at Monday’s Gary Chamber of Commerce meeting at Steel City Buffet & Grill.
Now in his 20th year in the newspaper business, he was appointed Times publisher in August, moving from Canton, Ohio, where he was regional publisher of GateHouse Media’s Ohio locations since 2007.
“I’m the new kid on the block, so I’m here to listen. I don’t have all the solutions,” White said. “This is an exciting time to be here.”
A native of Oklahoma, White said citizens and business leaders in Northwest Indiana “understand how good you have it.”
The ability to work together for solutions and to grow and redevelop communities is a hallmark of this area, he said.
White listed the area’s major assets including the Gary/Chicago International Airport.
“This is a gold mine. We have to develop it commercially for increased economic development,” he said.
Education, especially the area’s commitment to prepare students for their roles in future careers, is also a positive, according to White.
“There is our transportation infrastructure,” he said, adding that other regions of the country can only dream of having “the network of interstate highways and the world class system of rail lines.”
With Lake Michigan and the lakeshore on its doorstep, Gary sits at the crossroads of these assets, and “at the top of the list is restoring Gary to its former glory,” White said. “I’ve seen how people in this city are working with a progressive mayor to restore Gary.”
The publisher said the goal of The Times Media Co. is to support that restoration.
The Times is not only the second-largest newspaper in Indiana, it also serves more communities of any other newspaper in the country, White said.
“We serve 51 communities. We reach 85,000 households Monday through Saturday and 91,000 households on Sunday,” he said.
The company’s website, social media sites and magazines reach even more people, and The Times hosts more than 22 community websites that allow those municipalities to publicize their events and information, White said.
Now text alerts to those who sign up are expanding The Times’ reach as a source of breaking news, the publisher said.
Other changes on the horizon include expanding the newspaper’s entertainment section.
The Times’ history of reporting a broad range of news and as a leader in investigative reporting will continue, he said.
In addition to being The Times publisher, White said he’s especially happy to be co-chairman of One Region, an initiative started by The Times Media Co. that is sponsoring 16 action initiatives including education, health care and public safety.
“I’ve got a lot to learn,” he said. “I want to hear from our readers and customers to learn how we can better serve this thriving community. This is your newspaper.”