GateHouse announces two promotions to general manager in Texas

Shoni Wiseman and Belinda Mills were recently named general managers at two of GateHouse’s Texas locations, announced Southwest Regional Vice President Matt Guthrie.

Wiseman was promoted to general manager and advertising director for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Wiseman will be the point person in the local business community as well as the point of contact for the community at large. 

Mills will be taking on the new title of general manager and advertising director of the Amarillo Globe-News. This change reflects the hard work and dedication Mills has put in the last year.

Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, GateHouse Media announce agriculture data journalism fellowship

GateHouse Media, LLC and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting are excited to embark on a new partnership through the creation of an agriculture data journalism fellowship funded by GateHouse.

The agricultural data reporter will be embedded in the newsroom of the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting and will focus on in-depth agribusiness investigative reporting. This fellowship will provide resources needed for the Midwest Center to more aggressively report on agribusiness and its impact on rural communities. The fellowship will also provide GateHouse with priority access to this reporting and to the Midwest Center’s robust archives and databases — enhancing the coverage of GateHouse newsrooms across the country. This strategic partnership will further empower GateHouse newsrooms, particularly in the Midwest and West, by providing additional highly focused and unique resources and content, as the newsrooms continue to develop products and services that target rural audiences.

The partnership follows GateHouse’s June announcement of the company’s investment in a national investigative and data-driven reporting team

“This partnership further illustrates GateHouse’s commitment to enterprising journalism,” said Kirk Davis, GateHouse Media CEO. “It’s critical coverage that will bolster existing teams in newsrooms across GateHouse, and provide valuable reporting that our colleagues throughout the industry can build from.”

The fellowship strengthens the partnership between the two news organizations, as newsrooms such as the Peoria Journal Star and Austin American-Statesman have previously used content shared by the Midwest Center. 

“The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting has an established record of high-impact journalism,” said Bill Church, GateHouse senior vice president of news. “Investigations that result from this fellowship will break new ground, reveal untold stories and help reshape the conversation on the business of agriculture in America and beyond.”

As part of the hiring process for the fellowship, the GateHouse investigations team will work with the Midwest Center to evaluate qualified candidates. 

“We’re thrilled to have GateHouse’s generous support, and for the opportunity to explore data and document-driven stories on a whole new level,” said Pamela Dempsey, Midwest Center executive director. “The combined power of GateHouse’s investigative DNA and the Midwest Center’s vast institutional knowledge of the agricultural landscape will undoubtedly result in landmark storytelling.”

About The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting is a nonprofit, online newsroom offering investigative and enterprise coverage of agribusiness, big ag and related issues through data analysis, visualizations, in-depth reports and interactive web tools. Visit us online at

About GateHouse Media, LLC

GateHouse Media, headquartered in Pittsford, New York, is a wholly owned subsidiary of New Media Investment Group Inc., which is focused primarily on investing in a high quality, diversified portfolio of local media assets and on growing existing advertising and digital marketing and business services. GateHouse Media is one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States, as measured by its 156 daily publications. As of May 2, 2019, the company operates in over 615 markets across 39 states, reaching over 22 million people on a weekly basis and serves over 200,000 business customers. For more information regarding GateHouse Media, please visit


The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

Pamela Dempsey, Executive Director

(217) 239-6617

GateHouse Media

Carlene Cox, Director of Communications

(630) 310-9567

Fayetteville editor becomes first woman to lead newsroom in paper’s 203-year history

Lorry Williams, who has held numerous positions in The Fayetteville Observer’s newsroom over the past 32 years, has been named as the newspaper’s executive editor.

Williams, 55, becomes The Fayetteville Observer’s first female executive editor, succeeding Matt Leclercq, who recently was promoted to GateHouse Media’s national news editor in Austin, Texas.

“Strong community journalism is so important,” Williams said, “and we have a talented group of journalists who work hard to tell stories that matter.”

Williams has served as the Observer’s senior news editor, deputy news editor, assistant managing editor, assistant metro editor and reporter on numerous beats.

Publisher Bob Gruber said Williams’ lifetime knowledge of Cumberland County makes her a perfect match in understanding the community and its coverage needs.

“Lorry will continue to work to uphold the Observer’s long-standing obligation to our printed products,” he said, “while continuing to move the newsroom forward with the digital platforms of today and tomorrow.”

Williams is a 1986 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism. She has been active with the Cape Fear Division of the March of Dimes, including serving as board president in 2011.

Benner named as group publisher in Fort Smith

RJ Benner has been named as the group publisher in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Benner will help oversee publications including the Fort Smith Southwest Times Record, the Booneville Democrat, the Charleston Express and the Greenwood Democrat.

Prior to his relocation, Benner held multiple sales leadership positions with Lee Enterprises, including most recently as general manager of The World newspaper located in Coos Bay, Oregon. He also served on the Political Action Committee with the Chamber of Commerce and was vice president of the local Lions Club.

GateHouse Media launches national investigative reporting team

GateHouse Media has announced a powerful investment in journalism. We are building a national investigative and data-driven reporting team of more than 30 award-winning editors and reporters. The team will be embedded in local newsrooms which will add considerably to our local coverage efforts.

The team will be headed by Managing Editor Emily Le Coz, an award-winning journalist and GateHouse Media’s first national digital projects editor. The team will report on high-impact national projects, elevate local news and experiment with innovative ways to shape the future of the industry.

Already, the team boasts nationally acclaimed journalists including Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Michael Braga. A national recruiting effort is underway to expand the team.

“Extensive planning has gone into expanding our investigative reporting and data team,” said Kirk Davis, GateHouse Media CEO. “We’re so proud of our news organization and the work they do every day. With this strategic investment in journalism that matters, we’re strengthening the ability of our newsrooms to focus on critical issues facing their communities and placing a renewed emphasis on entrepreneurial reporting.”

As the media industry faces mounting financial pressures and competition, it is critical that media companies empower local newsrooms to provide trustworthy, valuable and thorough coverage of their communities.

“This investigative team ensures precious local resources are maximized and provides readers with enterprising reporting that has long been the hallmark of legacy media companies like GateHouse Media,” said Bill Church, senior vice president of news. “This journalism rights injustice. It combats the threatening notion of fake news. It is the type of service journalism that is critical to our mission as one of the largest local media companies in the country.”

GateHouse names new National News Editor based in Austin

GateHouse Media’s Center for News & Design is pleased to announce Matt Leclercq as its new National News Editor.

In his new role, Leclercq will develop, implement and oversee long-term national content strategies and day-to-day communication, coordination and execution of those plans.

The National News Editor will work closely with the CND leadership teams, More Content Now, projects, innovation and investigations teams, and all GateHouse Media newsrooms — the 156 daily newspapers nationwide, and an additional 195 weekly products — to establish and evolve GateHouse Media’s national coverage standards and best practices, across all platforms.

“We are reshaping and redefining the way we reach our audiences with a model intended to be

sustainable for the future of journalism,” said Bill Church, Senior Vice President of News and Austin American-Statesman Editor-in-Chief. “There is nothing easy about the work we do, but we are committed to supporting our local news teams and empowering them to provide impactful reporting in all the communities we cover.”

This appointment enables GateHouse Media to continue to #DoJournalismWithImpact, and builds on the CND’s successful model as an influencer in the news editing, distribution and design space. Church said Leclercq’s leadership and involvement with the launch of GateHouse Media’s Accelerator Team Model made him a strong choice for this role.

“We’re excited to welcome Matt to the CND leadership team,” added Steve Dorsey, Vice President for News Performance and Partnerships. “He has a great understanding of both print and digital platforms and a track record of leading his teams in coverage and performance.” Leclercq has been the executive editor at The Fayetteville (NC) Observer for nearly two years, during which time he’s led the newsroom in earning first place for general excellence, public service and outstanding government reporting from the North Carolina Press Association and the Associated Press.

Prior to 2017, he served as The Observer’s managing editor, with chief responsibilities over digital platforms, audience growth and project management. In his 20-year career, he’s been a beat reporter, special projects and computer-assisted reporting journalist, and a metro editor.

GateHouse editor elected Ohio Associated Press president

The Ohio Associated Press Media Editors association recently announced Rich Desrosiers, executive editor of The Canton Repository, was elected as president for the 2019-2020 term.

Desrosiers, who started at The Repository in 1985, has served in multiple roles including sports writer and page designer. He also held positions with the Akron Beacon Journal before returning to The Repository in 2015.

“We face a challenging environment that includes increasing animosity against the press in general and the day-to-day financial pressures of media businesses,” Desrosiers said. “Our goal for APME-Ohio over the next year will be advocating for and working to ensure the continued excellence of the state’s print and broadcast outlets.”

The Associated Press is a nonprofit news cooperative representing 1,300 newspapers and 5,000 broadcast stations in the United States.

Leong named senior group publisher for Lake Media

Joseph Leong has been named senior group publisher for Lake Media. He will oversee operations in the lake area for all of GateHouse Media’s holdings.

Lake Media includes the Lake Sun, the area’s only daily newspaper; two weeklies, Westside Star and Focus; LakeNewsOnline; Lake Lifestyles magazine; Vacation News; Lake Sun Extra; Tube Tab; Lake of the Ozarks Boats; and Lake of the Ozarks Real Estate; as well as numerous other specialty publications.

“I’m extremely proud to be joining Lake Media and working with an experienced team,” Leong said. “Our family of products is deeply ingrained in the fabric of the region. We take our role in the community seriously. I look forward to being a part of the growing portfolio of products Lake Media offers and working here at Lake of the Ozarks.”

Leong has worked in the media industry for 30 years in various management capacities including advertising sales, marketing, and distribution, in Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Hawaii and New Mexico.

Prior to coming to Missouri, Leong was the senior group publisher for Gatehouse Media Alaska Holdings Inc., overseeing operations at the Juneau Empire and several other properties. Prior to Gatehouse, Leong was vice president and chief revenue officer at the Albuquerque Journal.

Leong moved to Missouri as a senior group publisher in 2018, managing operations in Joplin, Aurora and Neosho, as well as properties in Kansas and Oklahoma. Leong’s role has recently been expanded to include Lake Media and Rolla.

The announcement was made by GateHouse Media Regional Vice President Grady Singletary.

“I am very pleased to have Joe Leong, senior group publisher, join the great team that serves Camdenton and the lakes markets,” Singletary said. “He will be a strong advocate of providing quality journalism for the community as well as effective publications and digital opportunities that provide area businesses effective marketing reach to consumers.”

Austin American-Statesman launches new streaming radio station

The Austin American-Statesman has launched its new streaming radio station, Austin360 Radio, available at Well-known Austin radio personality JB Hager will headline the new station with his daily show, 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“After months of planning and creative effort, we’re thrilled to go live today,” said Scott Pompe, Statesman vice president of advertising. “Our intention when creating this station was to give Austin listeners an engaging alternative in music as well as in local news and entertainment content. It was also essential that we had an experienced local talent be the voice of our station. We feel incredibly fortunate that JB Hager is returning to local radio on Austin360 Radio.”

For almost 18 years, Hager was one half of the popular “JB and Sandy Morning Show,” with co-host Sandy McIlree, that played on Mix 94.7 FM. In 2014, Hager moved on to Austin Radio Network 105.3 FM; he departed in 2016. Since then, Hager has been involved in various projects, including the annual Tour de France podcast with Lance Armstrong, “The Move.”

“I’m excited to be back behind the mic and part of a station that’s putting a twist on regular radio,” said Hager. “Plus, we’re going to embrace the local, which is something I feel that radio in Austin has moved away from over the years.”

Rob Connelly, director of Digital Audio for GateHouse Media, who was instrumental in developing the streaming station, describes the station’s music genre as ’70s funk and soul.

But rather than played in their standard format, the funk and soul hits will be woven into party-style remixes. These remixes were created by Steve Raskin, one of the founding members of the Fort Knox Five, a music group in Washington, D.C,. known for its eclectic remixes, and Austin-based DJ Manny Muniz.

When music isn’t playing, Austin360 Radio will also feature the work of Statesman journalists, who will step into the studio to cover their work on politics, technology, food, football and more. Hager intends to also share historical and quirky information about the capital city.

Austin360 Radio is available at or by clicking on the radio button prominently displayed at the top of each of the Statesman’s three websites:, and

Businesses interested in advertising on Austin360 Radio can contact Statesman Advertising at (512) 445-1739.

About Statesman Media:

Statesman Media is the premier media company in Central Texas. Its brand portfolio spans print and digital, reaching audiences on smartphones, tablets and desktops. Our products and services include the Austin American-Statesman, named Texas Newspaper of the Year three of four years by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors; six community newspapers; Austin360, the entertainment publication; corresponding websites,,, and; the digital edition, Statesman ePaper; a dynamic news app, Statesman Live; and social media feeds, @statesman and @austin360. Our print products reach more than 638,000 readers each week, while digital platforms draw 5 million visitors accessing more than 26 million pages each month. With over a century of experience, Statesman Media knows local.  We’ll take your business to the next level with traditional and digital marketing solutions. Statesman Media manages the Statesman Cap10K as well as several community and charitable efforts including Statesman Season for Caring and Statesman Swim Safe for Austin Kids, a local program that teaches at-risk children to swim. Statesman Media is part of GateHouse Media.

About GateHouse Media, LLC:

GateHouse Media, headquartered in Pittsford, New York, is a wholly owned subsidiary of New Media Investment Group Inc., which is focused primarily on investing in a high-quality, diversified portfolio of local media assets and on growing existing advertising and digital marketing businesses. GateHouse Media is one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States as measured by its 144 daily publications. As of April 30, 2018, GateHouse operates in 565 markets across 38 states. GateHouse Media’s portfolio of products includes over 600 business and community publications and 569 websites, serves more than 215,000 business advertising accounts, and reaches 23 million people on a weekly basis.

GateHouse announces key finance leadership changes

Jennifer Ellmer, GateHouse Media’s Vice President of Finance, Accounting & Shared Services, recently announced the following key finance leadership changes:

Darryl Hudson is being promoted to Associate VP Finance, FRC. Darryl brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of newspaper operations, with a strong focus on revenue systems – conversions, standardization and consolidations. In his new role, Darryl will partner with other Accelerating Results teams to develop and implement newspaper operational standards for our markets, while leading centralized transactional support centers through the next phase of organizational change.

Kristen Sites, Associate VP Finance, will transfer from overseeing the AdRC and PARC centralized FRC teams to Associate VP Finance, Compliance and Process Improvement for Newspaper Operations. Kristen will be a key finance leader and strong business partner as we align processes, while ensuring strong internal controls.

Darlene Rodrigue, Director of Finance, will transfer from overseeing the CRC centralized FRC team to Director of Finance, ARC for the Newspaper Operations’ general accounting team. With her tremendous newspaper experience, Darlene has led the CRC team through a transitional phase of growth and development. She is a strong contributor and brings a unique perspective while championing change efforts.

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