Hired as managing editor in 1988, Mr. Hine has been at the helm of the community paper for well over half its existence, and for the entirety of its online life at AlmanacNews.com. The creation of three Portola Valley women who wanted better coverage of local schools, issues and people of the community, the newspaper was born in 1965 as the Country Almanac.
In his three decades at the paper, Mr. Hine has not wavered in his effort to meet the founders' goal of keeping residents of the communities served by The Almanac well informed, leading a team of journalists who cover city halls, schools, businesses and much more in Menlo Park, Portola Valley, Woodside and Atherton.
"Richard has epitomized what every community needs from a local newspaper editor," said Bill Johnson, president and CEO of Embarcadero Media, which has owned The Almanac since 1993. "He cares intensely about getting the facts right, being fair to news sources and mentoring younger journalists.
"He has helped to break many important stories over the years and has supported reporters' efforts to make sure local government agencies and schools operate with transparency, often when they would prefer not to," Mr. Johnson said.
"His attention to detail and to everything going on in The Almanac's circulation area is legendary. The Almanac and its readers have been blessed to have Richard editing the paper for the last 30 years, as have dozens of young reporters who became outstanding journalists under his guidance."
Renee Batti, who began her tenure at The Almanac in 1991 and has served as associate editor until this month, has stepped into the editor's position.
"There was never a question that Richard's successor would be The Almanac's longtime associate editor, Renee Batti," Mr. Johnson said. "Renee has worked as a reporter and editor at The Almanac for the last 26 years and has been a big part of the paper's success.
"She has worked side-by-side with Richard to guide the paper's coverage and oversee its reporters, and while she will make her own imprint on The Almanac, readers need not fear that a change in editors will bring a change in the paper's dedication to in-depth coverage of what makes our community so unique."
Reflecting on his long run at the newspaper, Mr. Hine recalled that when he began his tenure at The Almanac, he also reported on the town of Atherton, "and greatly enjoyed it." Back then, "we wrote stories on a manual typewriter, which I also loved, and the stories were set by a typesetter," he said.
Under his leadership, The Almanac won many awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association, including general excellence and public service honors. In the latter category, The Almanac took a first-place award for its in-depth reporting project calling attention to what one legislator called "the ticking time bomb" of the high future costs of paying for public employee pensions, Mr. Hine noted. He added that The Almanac was "way out front" in reporting on the issue when it was a little-known threat to the financial stability of government agencies.
"I am so grateful to have been able to work for The Almanac for nearly 30 years," Mr. Hine said last week. "I greatly appreciate the contributions of so many people, in the community and on the staff, too numerous to mention, who have kept this enterprise going.
"While The Almanac has a deep history in the community, going back to 1965, the thing to focus on now, and always, is the future: how we can continue to share useful and interesting information necessary for a successful community. The new editor, Renee Batti, who is really a veteran editor at The Almanac, is open to your ideas and contributions.
"Here's to the next 50 years of The Almanac."
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