Editor & Publisher

Brad Gentry

Publisher (just retired), Houston Herald, Houston, Missouri — a county-seat weekly in south-central Missouri

First job in news:

At age 15, I worked in the pressroom, mailed the weekly newspaper, and photographed events in the community before graduating. I later earned a journalism degree from the University of Missouri-columbia School of Journalism.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned while working in news?

Having colleagues who can adapt to the constant change that has occurred in the industry over the years — from darkroom to digital to desktop publishing. Some of the best employees are constant learners, readers of trade publications and work independently to educate themselves.

The weekly newspaper industry is a true partnership with the community — working together, educating the public about areas where we can do better, celebrating our town’s triumphs and bringing our community together during tragedy. If you are truly engaged, the newspaper is frequently visited by the town’s leaders for advice.

When you reflect on your career to date, what brings you the greatest sense of accomplishment?

Over the last four decades, we’ve provided the leadership and publicity

for several projects that made a big difference in our community — renovation of a 1938 movie theatre, turning an early 1900s grocery store building into a visitors’ center and quarters for the chamber of commerce, as well as a downtown plaza and pavilion that host events and the weekly farmers market. Another building was gutted to become the office of the University of Missouri Extension Center. The newspaper completely digitized every issue printed since the late 1880s and created online archives. It is an invaluable resource for readers.

What are your predictions for where news publishing/news media is heading?

More emphasis on digital services to help merchants, robust websites to connect with readers and more video content are needed. It turns our publication into a daily because of the constant website updates throughout the day. That’s not to say that county-seat print publications are going away if they serve their communities with dedication and help merchants be successful.

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Editor and Publisher