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News in brief: June 2018

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Molen named new publisher at Steamboat Pilot & Today


Logan Molen has taken over as publisher of Swift Communications, Inc.'s Steamboat Pilot & Today, replacing Suzanne Schlicht, who stepped down April 2 after 26 years with the newspaper. His first day was Monday, June 11. A 30-year veteran of newspapers and online organizations (20 in management), Molen previously was CEO of RG Media Company, publisher of its flagship The Register Guard in Eugene, Ore. He also worked the past two years as president of Guard Publishing/Guard Real Estate, prior to the sale of its media operations to GateHouse Media.

An article on Steamboat Pilot & Today's website June 10 by Matt Stensland noted that Molen's parents "were both journalists who met while working at the Lewiston Tribune in Idaho." Their careers led to moves to Montana and Pueblo, where Molen was born. He spent most of his life in California, earning a bachelor's degree in journalism/print journalism/radio-TV at California State University, Fresno, and a master's in business administration and management at Pepperdine University.

He worked on the news side of the newspaper industry until about 2006, then served as vice president/interactive media (2006-2009) and COO/senior vice president (2009-2016) for The Bakersfield Californian.

More recently, he was publisher and CEO of RG Media Company/Guard Publishing/Eugene Register-Guard/ With a recent change in ownership, Molen decided it was a good time to make a move "preferably outside the large newspaper chains that are sometimes too focused on profits" – and, reported Stensland, said, "Swift might be the only one I would consider." Swift bought Steamboat Pilot & Today in August 2016. The company is still family-owned with approximately 600 employees.

Geers in as managing editor for Denver Business Journal


Kourtney Geers has been named the new managing editor at the Denver Business Journal. Associate Editor Jonathan Rose announced the news in an article posted June 11 on the newspaper's site. Geers began work that day after most recently serving as director of digital news production for The Denver Post.

At The Post, Geers' job was "managing a team of producers and leading the newsroom's efforts in digital storytelling," according to Rose. At DBJ, Geers will "act, in effect, as the newsroom's chief operating officer, overseeing the flow of content across print, online mobile, email and social platforms, with a heavy focus on the digital side," he continued.

Geers said she is "not only thrilled to be staying in Denver and taking on this role," but is "especially excited to continue strengthening journalism in Denver." Prior to her Post job, she was an online editor for Craftsy (an online platform based in Denver that focuses on crafts education) and a web producer for Politico, where she "optimized web content and helped develop content management and quality assurance." She announced her own layoff from The Post on Twitter March 21.

Geers earned a bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Missouri, and also attended Georgetown University's Institute on Political Journalism. She went on to work as a reporting fellow at The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., where she was part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that broke and reported on the investigation into former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's then-alleged child molestation investigation.

Colorado Springs Business Journal promotes two


Colorado Springs Business Journal recently announced two editorial promotions. Amy Gillentine Sweet, editor since 2015 and COO for a year, has been named publisher and executive editor, while Bryan Grossman, managing editor for a year, has been named editor.

Sweet will also oversee the Transcript legal notice newspaper and the Colorado Springs Military Group, three area newspapers CSBJ has contracted to publish. She has been at the newspaper for 11 of the past 13 years, working as a reporter, then in management positions. Said Sweet: "As a publishing company, we will continue to represent the business community, the military community and the legal community with stories that reflect the challenges of today, the opportunities of tomorrow and the ongoing success stories."

A native of Tennessee, Sweet grew up in Mississippi, worked at a local newspaper after high school and went on to earn degrees in journalism and political science at the then-Memphis State University. Moving to Colorado in 2004, she worked for eight years at CSBJ, then nearly two at the Air Force Academy as a contracted writer for Apogee Engineering (for which she earned one national award). She returned to CSBJ as editor in 2015. She has won 37 writing awards from Colorado Press Association, Colorado Press Women, the National Federation of Press Women and the Society of Professional Journalists.

Grossman has been writing for the newspaper since 2014. "Having lived along the Front Range for nearly 30 years," he noted, "I can truly say there's never been a more exciting time to be in Colorado Springs." He added that the newspaper had recently expanded page count to allow "more room for storytelling … photos, graphics and design," and was focusing primarily on in-depth enterprise reporting.

Grossman moved to Colorado Springs in 1989, graduating from Mitchell High School before going on to UCCS (University of Colorado Colorado Springs). He transferred from UCCS to CU-Boulder, where he earned a bachelor's degree in communications with a minor in political science. He became a reporter for CSBJ in March 2014, digital editor in 2016 and managing editor a year later. He has won 27 state and regional awards for writing and photography from Colorado Press Association (including two first-place awards this spring) and the Society of Professional Journalists.

The Denver Post taps Boniface as digital director


The Denver Post recently promoted Daniel Boniface to digital director. In announcing the news on his Twitter account, Boniface said, "I am so excited for the chance to continue a journalistic mission I truly believe in, and in a broader strategic role, working across all departments in the newsroom to help grow our online audience." He takes over for Rebecca Risch, who joined The Post's web staff in 1999 as an executive producer, moving up to digital director in 2005.

Boniface studied communication at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., then earned a bachelor of science in communication and English at the University of Miami. After working at various media outlets in Boulder, he became a digital producer for KUSA-TV/9News for nearly five years before joining The Denver Post staff as a digital breaking news editor in February 2011. He was named digital director of sports in September 2015.

New data says news media stronger than ever

New data collected by the News Media Alliance shows a promising trend: News media has never been stronger. So says Rebecca Frank, director of research & insights at NMA. On June 1, she reported that, "As part of our commitment to supporting the news media industry, we monitor reports from external sources that can help publishers make a case for the power of print and digital news as a medium to reach a large, engaged audience."

She explained that Kantar Media's "Dimension 2018" report "contains statistics that help demonstrate that news media has never been stronger." Graphics in the report show that regarding Traditional Media, 79 percent of those surveyed still read a printed newspaper. "Although the industry continues its rapid change," said Frank, "traditional media outlets still maintain a large audience, in the U.S. and worldwide."

As far as Trusted Media Channels, 72 percent trust printed news magazines and 67 percent trust printed newspapers – "Of those surveyed, more than twice as many people trust printed newspapers and news magazines as compared to social media," she noted.

Advertising also scored a hit. "More than one-quarter of people surveyed enjoy ads in online print, providing an opportunity for publishers to improve the online ad experience for readers and ad receptivity." Also, 71 percent said advertisers have "gotten better at communicating with them."

2017 busiest in nearly two decades for newspaper transactions

The newspaper industry saw “its busiest transaction year in nearly two decades” in 2017, according to a report by Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a newspaper merger, acquisition, appraisal and consulting firm based in Santa Fe, N.M. The firm represented the Boston Herald in its recent bankruptcy auction in which Digital First Media emerged top bidder.

A total of 31 separate transactions worth $347.97 million involved 80 daily newspapers, which Senior Vice President Phil Murray says were driven by two factors: “The sale of independently owned properties and small family-owned groups that are increasingly finding it difficult to operate effectively in today’s advertising environment,” and “the industry’s focus on building regional publishing clusters,” meaning that “more deals often are required when group owners decide to sell.”

In all, last year saw the most transactions since the “record-setting year of 2007 by one deal,” and the most since 2000, in which 53 deals involving daily newspapers took place. The year 2007 also set the record in dollar volume, at $20.04 billion in transaction value.

Reported by Contributing Editor Cheryl Ghrist. Send your news brief information to her at