The Day Publishing Co. adds two members to board of directors
New London ― An expert on Latin American economies and an attorney with decades of experience representing media outlets have joined The Day Publishing Co.’s eight-member board of directors.
Maria Amparo Cruz-Saco, 65, an economics professor at Connecticut College since 1990, and William Fish, 64, who has been with Hinckley Allen’s Hartford office since it opened in 2008 and was previously managing partner at a venerable New Haven firm, Tyler Cooper & Alcorn, recently accepted appointments to the board.
The other board members are Timothy Dwyer, The Day’s president and publisher; Nadine McBride, The Day’s chief financial officer; Maureen Croteau, retired head of the University of Connecticut’s journalism department; Lynda Smith, a New London psychologist; Ralph Guardiano, co-founder of Option A Group, an Essex marketing agency; and Steve Hull, a retired magazine publisher.
Cruz-Saco, currently conducting research and directing a teaching program for Conn students in her native Peru, said in a Zoom interview that she was honored to be asked to join The Day’s board and looks forward to immersing herself in the company’s operations when she returns to Conn for the spring semester.
“I’ve had the opportunity to interact with the executives and I’m very impressed by the leadership of The Day,” she said. “I hope to be able to contribute.”
Cruz-Saco, a Waterford resident, is secretary of the board of directors of the Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut, an organization her late husband, Alejandro Melendez-Cooper, founded in 2000. Following Melendez-Cooper’s death last November, their son, Claudio Melendez-Cooper, served briefly as the alliance’s executive director and is now treasurer.
In 2018, the Hispanic Alliance and La Latina Network named Izaskun E. Larrañeta, then The Day’s deputy managing editor, as Latina of the Year. Now managing editor, Larrañeta serves as secretary of The Day’s board.
Cruz-Saco earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in Peru and master’s and doctoral degrees in economics at the University of Pittsburgh. She taught for a year at Mt. Holyoke College before arriving at Conn and served as interim dean of the college from 2003 to 2005 and briefly as a dean at Wesleyan. She returned to teaching economics at Conn after spending the 2007-08 academic year researching in Peru as a Fulbright scholar, leading a United Nations study on aging, equity and income security.
In recent years, her focus has been on income insecurity among older people, particularly in Latin America.
“Maria’s expertise in economics is a valuable addition to the board as The Day continues to navigate a rapidly changing world for media companies,” said Dwyer, who noted Cruz-Saco is the first Hispanic person to serve on the board. “She has the ability and experience to look at issues on both a micro and macro level and brings a fresh set of eyes to the company’s financial strategy in both the short- and long-term.”
“Maria and her family have deep roots in the region’s Hispanic community,” Dwyer said.
‘An obvious choice’
Fish, president of the Connecticut Foundation for Open Government, a nonprofit that promotes transparency and the public’s right to know, said in a phone interview that he has done some work for The Day and that Dwyer approached him about serving on the board.
“There are few people as familiar with The Day Publishing Company as Bill Fish,” Dwyer said. “Bill has advised the board for more than three years on legacy debt issues and was instrumental in creating a five-year economic plan for the company with the help of FTI Consulting.”
“Bill is a nationally known expert on First Amendment issues and the media business in general,” Dwyer added. “As his role as an attorney working with The Day came to an end, he was an obvious choice to join the board.”
Fish’s extensive representation of media companies includes almost 40 years working on behalf of the Hartford Courant and involvement in cases having to do with access to records and 911 recordings in the Sandy Hook shootings, libel defense and business and distribution issues. His clients have also included The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Baltimore Sun, New Haven Register, The Middletown Press, Tribune Publishing and WFSB-Channel 3.
Fish also has handled complex commercial litigation, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, real estate and other business matters.
“I don’t think I was brought on as a lawyer but as someone people know,” he said.
“The Day is a unique newspaper,” Fish said. “It’s a community newspaper ― privately owned but effectively a nonprofit. (Joining the board) is an opportunity to get involved.”
He said he’s fascinated by The Day’s trust ownership set-up, one “where it’s not trying to make money for shareholders but trying to do the right thing for its readers.” He said the print media’s transition to digital platforms promises to be difficult for some time to come and that there are “no magic solutions.”
“I don’t see papers like The Day ever not being around because they serve such an important function,” he said. “But it’s challenging, and the role of a board is meeting those challenges.”