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Chester County Press

The canvas he created

01/10/2024 01:45PM ● By Richard Gaw

With some exception, it is the natural inclination of the museum goer on a journey through the impressionist wing of a museum or gallery to view the works from a few feet away, in an effort to understand the artist’s magic hand and immerse in the splotch and the dab of creation.

Yet for those of us who have marveled at these artists blessed with the brushstrokes of genius – Monet and Degas and Cézanne and Manet and their other drinking buddies – our respect comes from seeing the true majestic arc of their paintings not in the myopic splatter of single applications but in the great big transience of color and light – the overall wash of brilliance that is best viewed from a distance.  

In order to fully comprehend, their work intoned, you must take a few steps back.

Over the course of the last few decades, in the day-to-day workplace of the Chester County Press, the giant mural of Randy Lieberman’s vision has been applied dot by dot, deadline by deadline, story by story. Throughout the workspace, achieving that master plan has occasionally been punctuated by rips in the canvas, invigorated by the power of rational argument, and tempered through compromise by a small but dedicated staff, who continue to apply the dots on the mural of what has become a masterwork of local business and regional journalism.

To Randy Lieberman, who died unexpectedly on Dec. 26 at the age of 62, the fullest magnitude of his design was best acknowledged by asking his staff, his advertisers and the thousands of readers of the Press and its many regional magazines to take several steps back and see it for what it is: a kaleidoscope of content, reach and imagination. Taking the reins of the business from his father, Irv, Lieberman championed the cause of hyper local news coverage that takes his editorial department to school board meetings, to the inner workings of townships and municipalities and the curves and bends of progress and initiatives, all with a directive to hold stakeholders accountable for their actions, with no exception. 

In collaboration with his advertising department, he opened new avenues of connecting businesses to customers and expanded his company’s imprint to 37 annual publications that include the regional “Life” magazines distributed in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, as well as periodicals that support events and promotes the work of business chambers. 

Through these accomplishments – by achieving the thought-to-be unattainable in the face of a vanishing industry -- he became the most successful independent publisher in Chester County. 

The underlying truth was that Randy Lieberman was immune from the frailties that come with small aspirations. He was unapologetic and consistent in his reach for infinite possibilities. He encouraged those around him to challenge convention and make new boundaries and eventually leap over them and make more boundaries, because why not? Why the hell not?

In Robert Browning’s most famous quote, included at the top of this editorial, the poet defined heaven as a representation of our highest aspirations and the fulfillment of our wildest dreams. For those who knew Randy Lieberman, they will say that while his reach exceeded his grasp, his magic was in the act of reaching, and that the canvas that he created at the Chester County Press – best viewed from a few steps back -- will leave a lasting impact on all of us, for generations to come.