TRAVERSE CITY — Neal Ronquist originally is from Minnesota.
So he wasn't about to let a little thing like northern Michigan winters keep him from moving to Traverse City.
Ronquist, 44, started today as the Traverse City Record-Eagle's new publisher. He's a 22-year newspaper industry veteran, and most recently was group publisher of five daily newspapers in central Indiana, including the Chronicle-Tribune in Marion.
The Record-Eagle is the fourth daily Ronquist has helmed. He also served as publisher of the Russellville, Ark., Courier and the Austin Daily Herald in Minnesota.
"There's definitely a time of listening and soaking it all in so you can understand the history and determine what you need to know to make good decisions," Ronquist said Monday as he met with staff and settled in his new office.
What he knows so far is that Traverse City has "a great reputation" — the town as well as the newspaper.
"It's a great community," said Ronquist, who holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and another in government and international affairs from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., where he also played baseball. "And the paper has a great reputation. The editorial product is outstanding. It has solid business practices and partnerships."
Ronquist said he'll be active in the community here as he has at his other posts. In Marion, for example, he at one point chaired the chamber of commerce board.
"It's important for me to do those things," he said. "It's important for our business because it's a great way to develop partnerships and relationships.
"We're not just covering the news. We're part of the community. We want to be a proactive leader."
Challenging times for newspapers also present opportunities, Ronquist said.
"Times have gotten better, but we're not out of the woods, so to speak," he said. "It's an exciting time because we can be creative and innovative. I think it's an energizing time to be in the industry.
"Our print product is obviously going to evolve, but it's not going to go away. There's demand for it. That said, we have to look at all the other formats where people want to receive information."
And the fundamental function of the newspaper as watchdog as well as source of other community information hasn't changed, he said.
"Obviously, we have a role to play in making sure that government is transparent, in making sure the public knows what the truth is," he said. "We have a role to entertain people with stories about their friends and neighbors."
Everyone in the community won't always agree with the paper's coverage or editorial positions, Ronquist acknowledged. That's why being able to have open dialog and respectfully disagree on those occasions is important, he added.
"We're a business, too, and we're in this together," he said. "We want to make sure the community prospers because if the community prospers, our business prospers.
"It goes hand in hand."
Ronquist and his wife, Renae, have two daughters: Reese, 8, and Rachel, 11. His family will join him in Traverse City full-time at the close of the school year.
TRAVERSE CITY — Neal Ronquist originally is from Minnesota.
UPDATE: Mikko resigns as president of soccer referee assocation
A youth soccer referee who lost a job and a law license because he possessed nude images of teenage girls resigned as president of the Grand Traverse Area Soccer Officials Association, but whether Dennis Mikko will continue to referee soccer games remains unclear.Continued ...
Clearing the Record: 07/31/2014
Because of incorrect information provided to the Record-Eagle, an article on the Aug. 10 Traverse City Antique Postcard & Rare Paper Show should have stated that there will be 10 dealers at 40 tables.Continued ...
Film Festival Schedule: 07/31/2014
What's happening Thursday at the Traverse City Film Festival:Continued ...
Step in line for 'just great movies'
The numbers sound daunting — 65,000 tickets sold — but there still are plenty of opportunities to see some of this year's best screenings at the Traverse City Film Festival.Continued ...
UPDATE: Prosecutor clears Beach Bums of wrongdoing
A prosecutor found Traverse City Beach Bums jersey auctions didn't run afoul of the law, but instead struck out before they raised money promised to a local veterans group.Continued ...
New candidate hopes young voters weigh in
The youngest candidate in the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners primary contest hopes youthful voters will turn out to support his campaign. But that hope could be a long shot, if Ryan Walsh's own voting record is any indication.Continued ...
Two candidates hope experience offers edge in House race
Two candidates for the 104th state House seat already served Grand Traverse County as county commissioners. Now Republicans Robert Hentshel and Larry Inman are both vying to represent the county in Lansing.Continued ...
June retail strong
The jars of fruit preserves that left the front doors of American Spoon Foods’ downtown store added up to great June sales numbers for the local food producer.Continued ...
The film panel goes political
Things heated up at the Traverse City Film Festival’s first panel discussion, as politics took the center stage.Continued ...
Cheers erupt. Hands clap. Whoops sound. Three seconds of the movie is in the can — only three more minutes to go.Continued ...
Film Festival Outtakes: 07/31/2014
Clay artist Phil Wilson cut away peel from the fruit on a giant (by claymation standards) banana that accidentally had been crushed in production. “The giant banana needs tentacles.”Continued ...
Elmwood Township man arraigned on child pornography charges
An Elmwood Township man remains behind bars on accusations he sent child pornography over a computer file-sharing network.Continued ...
Mikko resigns as Grand Traverse soccer group president
The president of the Grand Traverse Area Soccer Officials Association will resign after he lost his license to practice law because he possessed nude images of teenage girls.Continued ...
Burritt's helps with Kids Fest hot dog crisis
It's a problem of foot-long proportions, a missing link just a week before the Film Festival.Continued ...
Lovina's Amish Kitchen: Amish wedding, Coblentz reunion highlight week
Such a lovely July morning. My wash and wringer machine is working again now, and it would be a great laundry day but we don’t have any hot water.Continued ...
Whitewater fire cause undetermined
Investigators still haven't found what kindled a fire that destroyed a vacant Whitewater Township farmhouse.Continued ...
Nancy Krcek Allen: Crudités à la Française
The crudités (kroo-deh-TAY) platter is the least visited part of a party. It’s no wonder. The word crudités brings up images of tough and tangy, raw broccoli and cauliflower florets, radishes and carrot and celery sticks cringing nakedly on a platterContinued ...
Beach Bums cleared of withholding fundraiser money
Authorities cleared the Traverse City Beach Bums baseball organization of allegations that the team illegally failed to distribute fundraiser money meant to be donated to the Grand Traverse Area Veterans Coalition.Continued ...
Food for the film-weary
There's nothing like a hot cup of coffee to kickoff the day, especially if you're waiting in line for an early screening at the Traverse City Film Festival.Continued ...
- Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Film Fest Kicks Off With the Bite
Carrie and Don Sattler watched "Jaws" as lovestruck teens on a first date. Now 35 years into their marriage they hunkered into lawn chairs and windbreakers for another first — their first Traverse City Film Festival flick at the Open Space.Continued ...
Grand Traverse County board to meet
Grand Traverse County board members will hold their monthly board meeting Wednesday night.Continued ...
Deputies' union rep leaves loaded gun in bathroom
A loaded handgun left behind in a Grand Traverse County governmental center bathroom belonged to a union official who represents sheriff’s deputies in contract negotiations.Continued ...
Film Festival Schedule: 07/30/2014
What's happening Wednesday at the Traverse City Film Festival:Continued ...
Film Festival Outtakes: 07/30/2014
Six Chicago-based Greenpeace workers are in Traverse City for Film Fest week to promote the organization's campaigns on honeybees, the rainforest, the Arctic and other environmental issues. (Plus more)Continued ...
Old city manager signed off on splash pad changes
Former City Manager Ben Bifoss approved a change order that led to several current problems with the city's splash pad at Clinch Park, city documents show.Continued ...
- UPDATE: Mikko resigns as president of soccer referee assocation