EDITORIAL: Thanking Carla Occaso

by  Nat Frothingham

Carla Occaso

Carla Occaso — our very effective Managing Editor for almost three years — has left The Bridge to take a position at Union 32 High School.

We miss her and wish her well.

When Carla became Managing Editor of The Bridge in the fall of 2014 — her news writing, editorial experience and capacity for hard work were sorely needed.

Within a short time, Carla was producing memorable stories and The Bridge was putting out memorable papers.

On the management side, Carla worked with our graphic designer and calendar editor Marichel Vaught — indeed with the entire staff — as we consciously related our advertising sales dollars to the page length of each paper.

Paying attention to these details had good financial results. In 2016, despite some unexpected expenses, The Bridge showed a small profit. Our entire staff contributed to this result. But it was Carla, together with Marichel Vaught and our bookkeeper Kathryn Thurston, who provided critical leadership.

Carla comes from a newspaper family. Her father, Dan Neary, was for a number of years, (Vermont) Associated Press chief in Montpelier.

Carla had worked in film. She was a reporter for the daily Caledonian-Record newspaper in St. Johnsbury and worked under the legendary editor Ellie Dickson. She was also a reporter for the Times-Argus. As a seasoned reporter and editor, she searched out the news and understood what it means in a competitive newspaper and media environment to break a story. During her time at The Bridge, we often got there first and reported first.

As Managing Editor, Carla worked with a range of freelancers and community writers. Sometimes we have worked with student writers from both Montpelier High School and Union 32 High School. Occasionally we’ve worked with adult writers and helped them break into print. In three consecutive years, Carla supported young writers in our community as they created a summertime publication called “The Breeze.”

During her almost three years with The Bridge, there were times that called for extraordinary efforts to invite community financial help to keep the newspaper alive. Carla was always there, leading by example and inspiring us all.

Carla’s writing talent, managerial abilities and personal gifts of spirit and energy will not be forgotten. Already these abilities and personal qualities are missed.

Thank you, Carla, from the heart.

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