Lars R. Trodson
The Block Island Times (Block Island, R.I.)
2013 to Now
The Block Island Times was a passive weekly publication and my job was to turn it into something more dynamic, colorful and representative of this unique island. I redesigned the newspaper to open up the news hole, eliminated columnists that were mere filler, created navigational tools for the reader, added more youthful voices. I ruffled some feathers. We have become much more proactive in getting the news — prior editors relied on meeting coverage for on-the-record quotes from public officials. Block Island is also the location for the first off-shore windfarm in the United States and we have vigorously covered every aspect of this unique story. Our social media platforms were moribund. Our audience on Facebook and Twitter has tripled; we have a YouTube channel. At the end of 2013, the highest read stories on our website had something like 1,500 views. The most-read story on our website at the end of 2014 had more than 8,000 views. I’m not just the editor. I like to get out into the field and do some writing whenever I can.
In the 24 months since I arrived, The Block Island Times has been reinvigorated. The community has responded in an overwhelmingly positive fashion. Block Island is now proud of its local weekly. Downside? I love this job, but Block Island is an insanely expensive place to live.
The Lawrence Eagle Tribune, Foster’s Daily Democrat, The Andovers Magazine, Cape Ann Magazine, Merrimack Valley Business Magazine
2011 – 2013
For two years, I was simply a reporter. I approached every story, whether I generated the idea or if it was assigned, with enthusiasm. I wrote about topics ranging from how the Fourth of July was celebrated in the 1940s to the re-emergence of big business in the Merrimack Valley to writing profiles of families in need during the holiday season. I have a breezy, readable style, but my primary goal was to inform and to find something unique in every story. Humanity can be found in any subject, no matter how mundane. An unexpected theme can be discovered by asking enough questions and listening with interest. I wanted to bring the reader as close to what the subjects in the piece were experiencing. I wanted to evoke emotion and educate the reader about certain parts of the world with which they may not be familiar.
It was during this period, from 2010 to 2013, that I focused on writing novels. Long-form writing was the only type of written project I had never attempted. I wanted to have a novel published (not self-published), which I accomplished in March 2011 when “Eagles Fly Alone” was published (review here). My second book, “Tide Turning,” was published in February, 2014 (review here). Each book received strong reviews and sales. A third is in the works.
Freelance Writer and Editor
2011 – 2013
Freelance gig. Wrote web copy for veterinary clients, which tested the outer limits of my creativity.
VP, Public Relations
Override, Inc. (Subsidiary of Irving Energy)
Portsmouth, NH/St. John, NB
2008 – 2010
This was an interesting and challenging job. I was the company spokesperson and public relations manager for this fuel rewards program. Override was a startup, a project of Irving Energy, Inc. I had the lead role in creating regional and national brand rollout strategies. I created compelling press releases, video content, concise web content, and clear internal communications. I sought new solutions to reach younger consumers. On a daily basis, I worked with our national retail partners, including Shaw’s Supermarkets, Dunkin’ Donuts, Gulf Oil and parent company Irving Oil — as well as our retail partners in Quebec (Metro Supermarkets and Couche-Tard, a leading convenience retail chain) and in Atlantic Canada (Sobeys Markets) — to coordinate and advance our marketing and sales efforts. This was a demanding enterprise.
US/Canada Manager of Public Relations
Irving Oil Corp.
Portsmouth, NH/Saint John, NB
2006 – 2008
Irving Oil has three primary products: oil, gasoline and propane, none of which inspires images of a clean environment or would normally be used as the basis for a positive corporate reputation. But when I left Irving, this company had an excellent reputation, not only as one that cared for the environment, but one that was involved in the neighborhoods in which it did business. I managed this international corporation’s brand. I had day-to-day contact with regional, national, international media. I was on TV, on the radio and quoted in print.
I was the first public relations manager for Irving to build relationships with the media representatives. Prior to my efforts, the company was reactive and frustrated with its negative image. During my tenure with Irving, the company’s public profile dramatically improved, and its coverage in the press was more frequent and positive. I steered donations toward local non-profits. I attended the opening of new locations.
This was a 24 hour-per-day/7 day-per-week job, and required the utmost of my written, verbal, management and interpersonal skills.
Crisis management expertise (and a calm demeanor) was essential in this position. I loved it.
Griffin York & Krause
September, 2005 – November 2006
I did the expected thing after a career in newspapers and went into public relations. This was a challenge for me, but I loved it. I was involved in extensive media/marketing/government relations campaigns for a variety of international, national and regional clients in the medical, real estate, business, financial services, manufacturing and non-profit spaces, including Irving Oil, Genzyme, the New Hampshire Lottery, the New Hampshire Liquor Commission, SubOptic 2007, St. Mary’s Bank and many more. I was the lead team member on the Irving account, and eventually had an office at Irving headquarters in Portsmouth, N.H. This move led me to be hired by Irving. It was a seamless transition.
I was directly involved in every aspect of many sophisticated multi-media, vertically integrated media campaigns: from writing press releases for traditional print media to designing communications plans for existing and emerging companies to scripting radio and television advertising. I planned and executed high profile press conferences and public events; and was responsible for media training for clients to help them prepare for television and radio appearances; also trained clients in crisis management. GY&K had a great environment. I enjoyed it, and learned a great deal.
Special Sections Editor
Foster’s Daily Democrat
2004 – 2005
This was a family-owned newspaper at the time, and while it had an excellent reputation as a local newspaper that served the needs of its subscribers, it was not a company known for daring or creativity. I did my utmost. I assigned, wrote and edited content for the following sections and publications: Showcase Magazine, a 20-page weekly magazine covering the arts and cultural scene in the Seacoast and beyond; the Sunday Arts & Leisure section; HomeLife, an 8-page section of Foster’s Sunday Citizen; the Portsmouth Times, a weekly broadsheet focusing on that city; and The York Times, a broadsheet covering news and culture in that town. We won some awards, but by the end of 2005 I knew I needed a fresh challenge.
Seacoast Media Group
1999 – 2004
This was the last job I held at this company after starting as a beat reporter here in 1992. I directed a newsroom staff for one daily (The Portsmouth Herald) and three weekly newspapers (The York Weekly, The Hampton Union and The Exeter News-Letter), including writers, graphic artists, numerous stringers, an editorial page writer, a photo staff of five. During my leadership, the newspaper experienced a reinvigorated relationship with its readers and enjoyed a renewed reputation for fairness and accuracy, all of which resulted in a steady increase in circulation. We were the annual recipient of multiple awards for news and editorial writing from the New England Press Association and the New Hampshire Press Association, but what newspaper doesn’t receive these accolades with some regularity. What we had, during my tenure, was the drive to do the very best work we were capable of doing while having a great time doing. I look back at this time with a great deal of fondness.
Portsmouth Herald, Editorial Page Editor (1998-1999)
Portsmouth Herald, Staff Writer (1992-1998)
Woonsocket (R.I.) Call, General Assignment Reporter (1990-1992)
Pawtucket (R.I.) Evening Times, General Assignment Reporter (1988-1990)
Nurse Recruiter Magazine, Contributing Editor (Rhode Island, 1983-1988)
American Press Institute, 2004
Judge, Best Altweekly Design and Writing Contest (2005 – 2009)
Co-founder, Roundtable Pictures, an independent production company
Co-founder, www.roundtablepictures.com (In 2007, still active)
Columnist, The News, Portsmouth, UK, (2001 – 2008)
Film Reviewer, The Wire (2004-2005)
Published essayist and poet (Civil War Times Illustrated, etc.)
Award-winning playwright and filmmaker
Member, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Pennsylvania Iota Chapter, Muhlenberg College
Author of two novels from Mainly Murder Press: “Eagles Fly Alone” (2011); “Tide Turning” (2014). One book of essays, “About Orson,” published by Roundtable Pictures Press in 2011. Writer/producer of both feature and short films (Winner, Best Dramatic Short, “The Listeners,” New Hampshire Film Festival, 2005).