Havre Daily News
New Year. New owners. New publisher.
The Havre Daily News' new owners announced Val Murri as the paper's new publisher on Tuesday.
Murri has been the newspaper's business manager for about 14 years and has been interim publisher since Harvey Brock left the position in November.
Murri said he looks forward to the “new endeavor” and “new challenge.”
The new job will mean overseeing all departments of the newspaper, including advertising, editorial and circulation. Murri's job as business manager entailed business collections and payroll.
“It's frightening in a way. I've never done it before,” Murri said Tuesday.
“I don't know if you are ever fully qualified - there's no school for publishers.”
Murri added that he will learn by doing.
Tuesday marked the first day in charge for new owners Robb and Jen Hicks of Buffalo, Wyo., and Gary and Sue Stevenson and Tom and Annie Mullen, of Sheridan, Wyo.
Tom Mullen, who was visiting Havre with Robb Hicks on Tuesday and today, said Murri is the right replacement for many reasons, including that he has lived in Havre for 31 years, is energetic and is excited about the newspaper business. Mullen said he and his partners considered other possible publishers before meeting Murri.
Robb Hicks called Murri “the obvious choice.”
The new publisher said he is looking forward to working with the new owners, working with paper employees on a different level and producing a “good hometown paper.”
Robb Hicks said he wants someone for the long term.
“I hope Val will be here the next 10, 15, 20 years,” he said. “We didn't want to have a revolving-door publisher.”
Murri said it is “reassuring to know that they want me to stay here.”
The partners also announced that prepress manager and graphic designer Stacy Mantle has been promoted to advertising manager. She will continue to do graphic design.
Mantle has worked for the newspaper for
over five years. She said she is “excited about the new challenge.”
Mantle has lived in Havre all of her life. She graduated from Montana State University-Northern with a bachelor's degree in graphic design.
Murri was born and raised in Lewistown. He served in the Air Force for about 3 years. He graduated from Northern with a two-year degree and from the University of Montana in Missoula with a bachelor's degree in accounting.
An accounting job brought Murri back to Havre. He was in public and private accounting for 17 years before joining the newspaper.
The new owners acquired the Havre Daily News from Pioneer Newspapers. Pioneer Newspapers Inc. is a private, family-owned publishing business formed in the 1970s by Jim Scripps. The Havre Daily News was purchased by Scripps in 1963 before Pioneer was formed.
The new owners have about a dozen newspapers, as a group or individually, including three in Montana: the Glasgow Courier, the Silver State Post in Deer Lodge and Philipsburg Mail.