Bill Albrecht, a veteran publisher and advertising executive, has been named group publisher for a number of GateHouse Media publications in Northeastern Ohio, including the Record-Courier.
"Bill's ability to lead, motivate and innovate makes him a great choice to lead this newly created group in Ohio," Brad Harmon, president of GateHouse Central U.S. Division, wrote in an announcement to GateHouse employees regarding the hire. Harmon is also president and publisher of the Dispatch Media Group, Columbus.
Albrecht had served as president and group publisher for the Gannett's Media Network of Central Ohio and publisher of the Newark Advocate before returning to South Dakota in 2013.
Working with a newspaper group previously is one of the things that attracted him to the new post, Albrecht said in a telephone interview Monday. He had the chance to see the opportunities it presented and the successes.
"It seemed to be the kind of job my career prepared me for," Albrecht said. "The last couple weeks I have been watching from afar."
Albrecht's first day on the job will be Monday, April 10, and he will be based out of The Daily Record offices in Wooster.
All the former Dix Communications newspapers in Kent, Alliance, Cambridge, Wooster and Ashland, are part of the newly formed GateHouse Media, Northeast Ohio group. GateHouse Media purchased the Dix newspapers and print facility for $21.2 million Feb. 1.
Also in the newly created group are the Canton Repository, Massillon Independent and the Dover/New Philadelphia Times Reporter.
Albrecht returned to South Dakota when he was named president and publisher of Argus Leader Media in Sioux Falls, S.D., in 2013. He earned a degree in mass communications, advertising and public relations at the University of South Dakota.
Albrecht has also served in executive leadership roles with the Duluth (Minn.) News-Tribune and The Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette. Albrecht served on newspaper association boards in Ohio and Minnesota."It will be outstanding to have Bill back in our state," Dennis Hetzel, president and executive director of the Ohio News Media Association, wrote in an email. "He brings skills, wisdom and a commitment to leadership that will serve both the newspapers and their communities well."
Wisdom, leadership and an innovative nature are some of the traits Albrecht will rely on as he leads the newspaper group.
For the group to succeed, it will need to rely on "good storytelling and watchdog journalism," Albrecht said, whether in print or online. He wants to make sure readers have the best digital experience possible.
Because he has been "watching from afar," Albrecht said he is not sure of all the digital products Dix Communications offered it advertisers. But, he knows of GateHouse Media's digital marketing arm, Propel, and, "It is impressive."
Albrecht will also serve as publisher of The Daily Record and the Ashland Times-Gazette.He and his wife, Lisa, have two grown children, and they look forward to relocating back to Ohio with their dogs, Scout and Maisie, both Gordon setters. His intent is to find a home in or around Wooster. In other communities where he has worked, Albrecht has served on a number of boards, including the United Way, Junior Achievement, a local chamber of commerce and area economic development organization. He expects for that history to continue here, but in a limited way.
"I have a big job to do," said Albrecht, who has spent most of his career in small- to mid-sized markets. He said he enjoys being able to go down the street to meet with advertisers and sources.