Former editor-in-chief of The Oswegonian now top editor at The Palladium-Times.
By Steve Yablonski
Even before the ink had dried on his SUNY Oswego diploma last year, Ben Grieco was covering sports for The Palladium-Times.
Fast forward six months and he’s now the new editor at the Oswego newspaper. He started his new job Jan. 10, marked by “a software issue.”
“We try to get the paper in by 5 o’clock; but when the editor screws up the software on his first day, it’s a little later,” he quipped. “You push it to 6 o’clock. But we try for 5, 5:30 most days.”
So the first day went a little “wonky,” other than that, things were good, he added.
“We finished up a little later than we would have wanted. But the good thing is we got the paper out,” he said.
He had been at the paper for six months as the sports editor before getting his promotion in January.
“I’m not from here. I’m from Weedsport, just a hop, skip and a jump from Oswego,” he said.
Grieco, 23, graduated from SUNY Oswego in May 2021 with a degree in journalism.
While at The Oswegonian, the college’s student-run newspaper, he served as the editor-in-chief during his senior year.
“We were at the height of the pandemic. News was changing every hour, it seemed. We had to adjust our own structure and I had to maintain a healthy and strong relationship with the school to keep us operational,” he said.
“Last year, I was editor-in-chief; it wasn’t exactly the way I expected the year to be. I had to schedule when people could go in and out of the office. We were limited to two people in the office at any time. I had to create a schedule on a Google spreadsheet. I’ve heard that they are back to normal over there. That’s a positive,” he said.
“For here [at the Palladium-Times], we’re pretty spread out just for safety reasons obviously. Whenever we go anywhere we’re all masked up,” he said.
He will be writing more news now. Dylan McGlynn, a reporter, will be handling the bulk of sports.
“I’ll still try to get to some games when I’m available, because I can’t fully give that up yet. I will be heavily covering Oswego State men’s and women’s hockey, what I would like to think is my bread and butter,” Grieco said. “That’s the thing I’m most passionate about.”
Going from sports editor, where he only did sports pages to now “helping layout most of the news pages, the cover and editing everyone’s copy whenever those stories come in, that’s been a pretty big change,” he said. “I’m still covering college events, women’s hockey. That’s my big thing. I’ll still have other stories throughout the week.”
“We have three reporters, including the sports editor and our newsroom manager, who will be leaving in a couple of weeks for a new job,” he said. “We’re going down to just about five in the newsroom, including Mike LeBoeuf our Fulton editor. Hopefully we can bring in a sixth person again.”
The biggest change for Grieco was going from sports to the editor in five or six months, he said.
“I didn’t have any expectations to the point of walking into here. I didn’t know … I knew they covered the high schools, the college a little bit. Didn’t know what they covered during the summer. Didn’t think I’d be excited to go to a Little league game. The police and firefighters play and their departments show up, it’s a big deal,” he said.
His goals include finding better stories, “not letting them come to us.” That’s hopefully a culture shift he can get in motion in the coming month or so, he said.
“We also want to help better inform our readers, more social media posts, breaking news on our website — that way it’s not old news by the time The Pall-Times comes around the next day,” he explained.
Stuck in Oswego
“That was the joke with a lot of my friends. We all graduated together. ‘Well, Ben is the one that got stuck in Oswego,’ they said,” Grieco said.
“If you would have asked an 18-year-old me if after four years of college if I’d be staying here for however many more years …I don’t think I expected to stay here,” he continued. “But I like it. It’s good to be here and experience a different side of Oswego instead of just being stuck on campus all day. I get to see the city a little bit. Get to know people and still get a little bit of that campus environment. I don’t think I ever would have imagined that I’d be staying here.”
Featured image: Ben Grieco works at his desk. The former editor-in-chief of The Oswegonian became editor of The Pall-Times on Jan. 10.