Mike Dooling joins The D.O. as general manager, has helped turn advertising staff into a family
Courtesy of Mike Dooling
As soon as Mike Dooling walked into the Daily Orange office, he knew he wanted to become its general manager.
He wasn’t taken aback by the papers adorning the walls or the chipping paint. Instead, he loved how laid-back and fun the house was, and how different it was from the corporate job he’d previously held at The Syracuse Post-Standard.
“When I first came for the interview, I was laughing to myself — it reminded me of my frat house,” Dooling said.
As he learned about the intricacies of The D.O. — how the board of directors functions, the paper’s long history and love of tradition, its family atmosphere — that comparison became stronger.
Before Dooling joined the staff in April, The D.O. was between general managers because the previous GM had to unexpectedly resign. The situation required then-editor in chief Mara Corbett and then-managing editor Justin Mattingly to take on more business responsibilities, Corbett said. Not to mention the responsibility of meeting with candidates for the position, which they did along with then-advertising manager Lucy Sutphin.
“From the instant we met him in person, we knew he was the man for the job,” Corbett said.
Prior to coming to The D.O., Dooling had only ever worked for The Post-Standard. He started in distribution, then spent the last 20 years in sales and marketing. When corporate layoffs left him without a job earlier this year, Dooling found himself re-entering the job market for the first time since graduating college.
He started by sending out five applications “just for fun,” not expecting much to come of them.
But with one of those applications, Dooling found his new job as general manager of The Daily Orange.
Since joining The D.O., Dooling has helped turn the advertising staff into a family, said Hannah Breda, a member of the ad staff who started working at The D.O. alongside Dooling.
“You can tell he really cares about all of us, as if we’re his kids,” Breda said. “We all call him dad.”
Corbett recalled an advertising meeting in which they had to discuss a problem with a client. Before they could even talk about clearing it up, Dooling said he’d already taken care of it. When the entire ad staff responded with “Thanks, Dad,” Corbett said she knew the board’s choice to hire Dooling was the right one.
In his two years as an advertising representative, Manny Garcia has worked under three general managers. He said none of them measure up to Dooling.
“Mike’s the type of manager that makes you want to come to work, and he makes you want to stay later,” said Garcia, who is now the advertising director.
Dooling said working with students is easily his favorite part of the job. In a way, it’s like coaching a sports team, something he did for years. He gets a new team every year and helps them grow.
Dooling’s ideas for the paper extend beyond advertising. Over the years, he saw plenty of ideas rise and fall at The Post-Standard. But just because they didn’t work there doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be a good fit for The D.O., he said.
Many of these ideas revolve around marketing. Before applying to work at the paper, Dooling knew of The D.O. but didn’t pick it up. He didn’t realize that its coverage extended beyond the Syracuse University campus, or that it had such a significant presence online, along with additional content.
Though Dooling has big ideas for pushing the paper forward, he still recognizes the importance of maintaining The D.O.’s history. Expanding its online presence doesn’t mean scrapping print.
“I want to continue this longstanding tradition that you have here,” Dooling said. “I want to see it go for another hundred years.”
Published on May 16, 2016 at 12:00 am