It is no secret that the media landscape is continually changing. At Plymouth Harbor, however, the high number of residents who held top-level careers in the media industry seems to have remained constant over the years.
Today, we are lucky to have so many of these talented individuals among us. From experts in the newspaper business to printing to broadcast, we’ve got our bases covered when it comes to news. Residents Walt Mattson, David Beliles, and Greg Fosselman are distinguished journalists; Joe Berkely is an experienced publisher; Beverly Vernon is a renowned food columnist; Susan Mauntel and Arnold Freedman are celebrated news anchors and talented storytellers; Allis Edelman is a skilled photojournalist and printer, and her husband, Erwin, is an accomplished printer and editorial production manager.
From a young age, Walt Mattson showed a keen interest in the newspaper business. He was as a printer’s devil, delivered papers, worked at a commercial printing plant, operated a linotype machine, and was an advertising manager. In 1960, Walt got his big break when he joined the New York Times as assistant production manager. His persistence and dedication paid off in 1979 when he was named president of the New York Times Company. Today, Walt continues to keep the media top of mind, as evidenced by his recent presentation at Plymouth Harbor alongside Diane McFarlin, former publisher of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Joe Berkely arrived in the newspaper business seemingly by accident. A former pilot and pre-med graduate, Joe married the daughter of a daily newspaper manager. In 1945, he purchased the Dodge City Journal, a struggling weekly newspaper, and transformed it into the High Plains Journal – now a significant news source for the Midwest agricultural community. As founding publisher, Joe raised the circulation from 132 paid to 50,000 paid by the time he retired. In April 2016, he was inducted into the Kansas Press Association Hall of Fame. You can view his acceptance speech in the video below.
Similar to Joe Berkely, Beverly Vernon wound up in the newspaper business by chance. She was an excellent cook, always preparing gourmet meals for her family and friends, so in 1979, her husband encouraged her to apply for a “test kitchen cook” opening at the Chicago Tribune. To no surprise, she landed the job. After food styling, testing, and developing recipes for over a year, the paper asked Beverly to head up her very own weekly column. She ran this column, which was later syndicated, until she left in 1989. From there, she went on to work for Kraft, testing recipes and working on both print and TV advertisements for the company.
Susan Mauntel’s signature phrase? “Have I got a story for you!” — a phrase that accurately reflects her life and career. Susan was an art major, journalism minor, and destined for show business. After modeling in several TV commercials and print advertisements, she went on to host daily live TV shows in San Diego and San Francisco, where she interviewed prominent figures like Maya Angelou and Gerald Ford. Later, Susan co-anchored news in Los Angeles, and today she continues her professional career with her popular story reads.
Erwin Edelman got his start as a copy boy at Time magazine. From there, he climbed his way up the ranks to the editorial staff, assisting in layout, color, and the selection of photos. Eventually, Erwin went on to manage editorial production operations for Time Canada in Montreal. Before that, however, he met Allis — who played a unique role at the magazine, as a “picture researcher.” According to Erwin, it was “love at first sight.” Before her position at Time, Allis had previously worked alongside famed photographer Edward Steichen, former director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
After their time in Montreal and a brief return to New York, Allis and Erwin moved to Cornwall, Connecticut. They saw a unique opportunity and need for a printer, and as such, they opened their own printing business, Rainbow Press, which they operated until the late 1990s.
Like Walt Mattson, resident Greg Fosselman had a fascination for newsprint at a young age. He graduated with a degree in journalism and worked for United Press International as a newspaper editor, a broadcast editor, and later a national broadcast news editor. Eventually, he went on to work for the Chicago Tribune, where he stayed for 21 years as a headline writer and news editor.
Arnold Freedman got into the media business after his second year of college and never left. He landed a job at a radio station and spent the next 45 years with the same company. After serving as a news reporter for both radio and TV, Arnold was featured as a TV news anchor, all the while assisting with the station’s promotion and marketing, and eventually serving as the station’s general manager. A major highlight of his career? Covering the 1952 Eisenhower campaign all the way through to his inauguration in 1953.
David Beliles also gravitated to the newspaper business early in life, taking after his father who was a newspaper circulation executive in the 1940s and 1950s. Born in Louisville, he was a reporter, editor, and publisher for several Midwest papers. David later worked for Stauffer Communications, a privately-held media corporation, as vice president of operations. His next big venture came in 1995 when he and his wife teamed up with their son-in-law, daughter, and a small group of investors to purchase the Longboat Observer. Today, David serves as Chair of the Observer Media Group, which operates nine newspapers, six websites, and has over 100 employees.
Whether we are searching for insight into the newspaper business, or experienced knowledge in the broadcast or printing industry, one thing is for certain — we are in good company here at Plymouth Harbor.