Six years after joining Vermont Public Radio, news director Ross Sneyd is leaving the station next Friday to take a communications gig at the Montpelier-based National Life Group.
Though he says he "did not do it lightly and gave it a lot of thought," the veteran Vermont journalist says it's time to try something new. He says he's particularly looking forward to cutting down his daily commute from Plainfield to VPR's Colchester studio and spending more time running the bed-and-breakfast he owns with his partner.
"VPR, I think, has established itself as the leading news organization in Vermont — or certainly one of the leading news organizations," he says. "I'm really proud of what VPR does and what it will continue to do. I will continue to be a listener and a member and wish them all the best luck."
A longtime fixture in the Vermont journalism scene, Sneyd moved to the state in 1987 to take a job with the Burlington Free Press. He spent 18 years reporting for the Associated Press — the final 16 of them in its Montpelier bureau — before joining VPR in 2007.
Sneyd's new boss at National Life, vice president for communications Chris Graff, will be a familiar face. Graff served as the AP's Montpelier bureau chief during Sneyd's time there.
John Van Hoesen, vice president for news and programming at VPR, says he's sorry to see Sneyd go.
"We've had a number of tributes here at the station to him," Van Hoesen says. "Obviously we all are wishing him the very best. The staff is going to miss him. He really did distinguish himself."
Van Hoesen and Sneyd both point to VPR's coverage of Tropical Storm Irene as a high point of his tenure at the station. VPR won several awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association and Public Radio News Directors, Inc., for its work covering the storm's aftermath.
Van Hoesen says he's assembled a transition team to cover Sneyd's duties as the station while searches for a replacement.