is leaving Daily News
Havre Daily News
Havre Daily News Publisher Harvey Brock is leaving the newspaper to become publisher of a larger newspaper in Iowa.
Brock, who became head of the Havre Daily News 6 years ago, has presided over a period of growth - both in readership and editorial content - during a time when many of the nation's largest newspapers are experiencing shrinking circulation and stagnant revenues.
Brock informed surprised staffers about his departure on Friday. His last day on the job will be Nov. 11.
Brock's new job will be as publisher of the Clinton Herald, a 12,300-circulation paper in Clinton, Iowa. The paper is owned by the Community Newspaper Holding Inc., a publicly traded chain that owns daily and weekly newspapers in 200 communities in the eastern half of the United States, from New York to Florida and Minnesota to Texas. “Harvey will definitely be missed. I think he's done a marvelous job in not only running the paper, but really taking a leadership position in Havre, which is consistent with our company values,” Pioneer Newspapers president Dave Lord said today. Family-owned Pioneer, based in Seattle, owns the Havre Daily News.
“I think that the news product delivered to the residents of the Hi-Line is stronger than it's ever been,” Lord said. “It's won a number of statewide awards, which is astounding for a paper of its size.”
“I have mixed feelings,” Brock said today. “I'm excited about going to a new opportunity and new challenge. I'm sad to be leaving staff and friends and Pioneer Newspapers, but I think it's time for a new opportunity for myself and new leadership for the paper to take it to the next level.”
Brock said he thinks there is a lot to build on. “I think the paper has improved, the quality of the design and layout. I think we've been a leader in defending the public's right to know.”
Brock faced the difficult challenge of running a five-day-a-week newspaper in an area struggling with shrinking population and a business climate made uncertain by drought and low agriculture prices, amid a national trend of declining newspaper readership as younger readers turn to the Internet and other sources for news.
During his tenure, the Havre Daily News has enjoyed Reader Behavior Scores that far outstripped the national average. The survey evaluates how many people read their local newspaper, how much time they spend with it and how readers rank the newspaper's leadership in the community.
Also, the Daily News' circulation has grown and its revenues have increased.
Under Brock's leadership, the Havre Daily News has emerged as a leader in Montana in the fight for open government. The Daily News, with the support of every major newspaper and news organization in the state, filed suit against the Havre Police Department to ensure public access to police records. The suit is pending in the Montana Supreme Court.
“We think this is potentially a very important case for making sure public documents remain public,” Montana Newspapers Association president and Freedom of Information Hotline board member Mike McInally said Tuesday. McInally is editor of the Missoulian.
“This lawsuit wouldn't be where it is, before the Montana Supreme Court, if Harvey hadn't pushed it. He was the key leadership in pushing this case forward.”
In the last four years, the newspaper has earned numerous awards for its news content. The newspaper for two straight years won the public service award in the Montana Newspaper Association's Better Newspaper contest for papers in its circulation category. The first was for a series on underage drinking in 2002, and the second was for a series in 2003 about the lives of local people with developmental disabilities.
The paper has taken first place in many categories, including general excellence in 2001, sports, business, education and government coverage as well as for best lifestyle pages, photo essays, ad series and editorial pages.
In 2004, Brock received the Montana Newspaper's Association President's Award for his efforts on behalf of open government.
“Harvey has been the best possible publisher, boss and friend,” Havre Daily News Managing Editor Karen Datko said. “He has been a fearless leader, always supporting the news staff in its efforts to provide the best possible news coverage to our readers. At a time when many news organizations have lost their nerve to cover the news, Harvey has encouraged aggressive and fair reporting.
“His leadership is proof that newspapers can do the job they are supposed to do and can at the same time meet their obligation to their owners to produce a profit,” she said.
Brock has been a statewide leader in the newspaper industry, serving this year as second vice president of the Montana Newspaper Association and sitting on the Freedom of Information Hotline board.
Brock has also been very active in the Havre community, serving on a variety of boards including Havre Beneath the Streets, the Salvation Army, Rotary Club, Relay of Life and the Fresno Chapter of Walleyes Unlimited. He has been a fixture at many public events, hosting a Montana State University-Northern Skylights volleyball player and rooting for Havre and Northern teams.
“I was with him with Walleyes Unlimited and he helped a lot there. I've seen him up at the fairgrounds with the Rotary Club,” retired Havre Fire Chief Mike Badgley said. “I'll miss him. It will be different with him not being around here.”
David Leeds, New Media Broadcasters Inc. president, said today: “I think Harvey has brought the paper back into being more responsible to the community. I haven't always agreed with the news tack the paper takes, but as far as community service goes, I think Harvey's done a good job. I think that's a good start and I think Harvey brought that with him when he came.”