GateHouse digital reporter selected for Poynter leadership academy

Wilkine Brutus, a digital reporter for the Palm Beach Post, was accepted into Poynter Institute’s 2019 Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media.

The academy, in its fourth year, is held in partnership with The Washington Post and will be comprised of 30 journalists from across the country. These journalists are “pioneers in digital media who have demonstrated an aptitude for leadership through current projects and references.” 

The academy will be held this year in October, led by Broyles and Sharif Durhams, senior editor at CNN Digital.

For more information, visit Poynter.

GateHouse SVP participates in Medill News Leaders Project

Bill Church, GateHouse Media Senior Vice President of News, was included in the recently-published Medill News Leaders Project, along with 53 other leading industry professionals. 

The project, part of the Medill Local News Initiative, was launched in spring 2018 to help news organizations achieve sustainability and strengthen their communities. 

This project is the first segment of a larger Medill research effort called “Market-Based Opportunities in Local News Innovation.” This report is intended for individuals in the news industry, academic researchers and the public, with the goal of gaining a better understanding of challenges facing the media. It encompasses the expert voices of 54 leaders who are managing the transformation of local news, offering insights into the crisis and possible paths to financial health.

This report puts a particular focus on regional and smaller markets, where many news organizations are especially vulnerable.

Click here to see Church’s comments.

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.”

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