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Kevin Bonham, Forum News Service, Published December 27 2013

New publisher named at Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS - A South Dakota newspaper executive will be the next publisher of the Grand Forks Herald.

Korrie Wenzel, publisher of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, S.D., will succeed Mike Jacobs when he retires March 31, Forum Communications Co. announced Friday.

Wenzel, 44, is a native of Wessington Springs, S.D., where his family owns the True Dakotan, the town’s weekly newspaper. His first job was at age 11, as a carrier for The Daily Republic.

He has been employed at The Daily Republic since 1991. He began as a sports reporter, and rose through the ranks in the newsroom, serving as sports editor, assistant editor and editor. He was a two-time sports writer of the year in South Dakota.

Wenzel was promoted to publisher in 2010. He also has been a mentor in Forum Communications Co.’s Forum Forward program.

“Korrie understands the newspaper business from the carrier to the publisher, and everything in between, because he has done it all. His passion and determination will continue to make him a success in his transition to Grand Forks,” said Bill Marcil Jr., executive vice president and chief operating officer of Forum Communications Co.

Jacobs, who announced last June that he intended to retire at the end of March, has been with the Herald since 1979. He was promoted to editor in 1984 and to a dual role of editor and publisher in 2003. He has been publisher since 2011.

“I’m delighted,” Jacobs said. “I think he’s a great choice.”

Jacobs said he knows Wenzel well, and his successor came up through the newsroom and possesses solid journalism skills.

“He’s running a very successful newspaper,” Jacobs added. “He’s a very solid community builder… I’m completely confident the Herald is going to be in good hands.”

While details of the transition are still being worked out, Wenzel said he plans to be in Grand Forks sometime in March to work with Jacobs in the transition. He also hopes to visit Grand Forks in the next month.

Wenzel has visited Grand Forks twice in the past couple of years, once for a company event, the other time to tour UND last summer.

“Grand Forks is a great town. It’s beautiful,” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s a very nice town and I was actually drawn to it at that time.”

However, he said he does not yet have any specific plans for the Herald.

“I’m one of those people who think that newspapers are great and they’re still very vital to people and communities. And Grand Forks is one of those papers. Mike’s done a great job in Grand Forks. It’s difficult to follow someone like Mike.”

Wenzel and his wife, Cheryl, have two sons: Mason, 18, who is a senior at Mitchell High School, and Parker, 15, who is a freshman.

In Mitchell, Wenzel has served on boards for Cornerstones Career Learning Center and also for the Mitchell chapter of Junior Achievement, for which he served one term as president.

He has served as a state and national judge for “We the People” competitions in South Dakota and Washington, D.C., and has been a volunteer coach in the Mitchell Recreation Department’s youth football program.

At present, he is president of the Mitchell Area Crime Stoppers and serves on the board of directors for the Mitchell United Way and the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation.

He is a member of the Mitchell Rotary.

In 2013, he was a member of the Mitchell Weight Room Improvement Committee, which raised more than $140,000 in private funds to renovate the athletic training facilities at Mitchell High School.