Defined roles are key to running a family business

by Peter Weinberger |

Given the Weinberger family has been publishing the Claremont Courier since 1955, most readers understand our role in bringing local news to Claremont. Fast-forward to 2023, and even though we are now a nonprofit, three Weinberger family members continue to help the 115-year-old Claremont Courier maintain its role as a vital community resource.

They are, in no particular order, Betsy, Peter and Matt. Our daughter Collette lives in San Francisco now but she too is a former Courier photo intern.

As for myself, I am the middle branch in this family tree. I literally grew up in the Courier office at 112 Harvard Ave. until I left to be a staff photographer for a daily newspaper in Rochester, New York. After a career working for several large daily newspapers, I returned to manage the Courier in 2007 as publisher, due to my parents’ failing health.

Up until the age of 21 it was all Courier, all the time. My parents Martin and Janis showed me through hands-on experience how to publish a newspaper. But what made us a successful unit were the roles we filled and the expectations we met to literally make sure the presses ran on time. And without even realizing it, we established best practices for a family in business together.


Who’s in charge?
Even for a family business, there must be a key person in charge of running the day-to-day aspects of the business. With editor and publisher Martin Weinberger, there was no question who that person was for the Courier. And although Martin spent an enormous amount of time helping the careers of others, he operated the Courier in a top-down management style. Publishing is a very subjective field, and even today there must be one person designated in making final decisions. That model still exists for most family businesses in one form or another.

Within the Weinberger family, it was understood Martin played that role. Now that doesn’t mean my mother Janis didn’t make her voice heard on important issues or decisions. She did, but not in the middle of the newsroom. Much of her input was imparted at home, away from the staff. If it was something she really cared about, Martin knew he better listen. And he did.

In a family business, work comes home. And that’s okay to a point. As with all of us employees today, a work/life balance is essential. With a family, it’s just more personal and less structured. But it does happen.


My mother Janis
Janis had a critical role. She played utility infielder for the Courier, plugging numerous staffing gaps when necessary. And it was almost always necessary. She was outstanding with graphics and design, helping produce the newspaper when the production involved paper and rubber cement or wax to stick hundreds of pieces of content (stories, photos, headlines) to produce a page.

My mom also helped run the office as office manager whenever needed. It could be filling gaps between hires or just getting the office organized to her liking. With her contagious enthusiasm, she set the standard for helping others. This is similar to the roles my wife Betsy plays at the Courier office now, and with the nonprofit.

Janis also introduced photography to the Courier, including Martin and myself. Photography not only became my passion, it’s also become my son Matt’s, who is a talented videographer. Matt also fills several non-photo roles at the Courier, perhaps most importantly as our go-to computer networking guru. He is also instrumental in most everything else tech-related in the office.

The Courier would not have been the Courier without the help of Janis Weinberger. Martin may have been the ringleader, but mom was the glue that held the family tree together.


Now in 2023, the next generation continues to operate the Courier, each of us playing specific roles, all focused on making sure our support of Claremont never wavers. Our goal is to have a strong board of directors that will help guide the next generation of people excited to make a difference in the Claremont community.


Submit a Comment

Share This