David Zeeck is assuming responsibility for The Bellingham Herald in addition to his role as president and publisher of The News Tribune in Tacoma and The Olympian, according to an announcement from McClatchy, which owns the three media companies.
Mark Owings will be leaving the company May 5. He’s been with The Herald since 1998 and became publisher in 2010.
“While these decisions are never easy, in some markets, where it makes sense, the change will allow us to streamline operations and refocus resources to work in more effective and efficient ways as we accelerate the pace of our digital transition,” Gary Wortel, regional publisher west region, wrote in a memo to staff.
“We are grateful for Mark’s leadership and thank him for his dedication to McClatchy, our employees at The Herald and the Bellingham community.”
The change is part of McClatchy’s move to a regional publishing structure for its 30 news companies. “This new structure sharpens our ability to move faster on both local and national levels and underscores our desire to work differently,” Wortel wrote.
“Our focus on digital has greatly expanded our audience,” said Julie Shirley, executive editor. “Last month, bellinghamherald.com had an average daily unique visitor count of more than 40,000.”
Shirley and Rusty Dodge, advertising and marketing director, will report directly to Zeeck.
“The print and digital news that Herald readers get, and the advertising solutions for our business customers, will continue to be produced and directed from Bellingham. Mark has assembled a great team of people who know and love this community. My job is to support them and make sure they have the resources to succeed in the future,” said Zeeck, who was in Bellingham for the announcement.
Zeeck joined The News Tribune in 1994 as executive editor and has been publisher since 2008. Before his move to Tacoma, Zeeck worked for The Kansas City Star as an editor and was part of a news team that won two Pulitzer Prizes.