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.
Girls Basketball: St. Francis wins season opener (with video)
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Bomb squad called to Cherry Growers
A Cherry Growers Inc. employee’s discovery of a “suspicious device” brought a state police bomb squad to the fruit processor’s Grawn building.Continued ...
Rich resigns from TCAPS board
Applications are being accepted for an open spot on Traverse City Area Public Schools’ Board of Education following the resignation of a trustee and former board president.Continued ...
Authorities investigate 'suspicious device'
Cherry Growers, Inc. is offering a reward for information about a "suspicious device" that brought the bomb squad to its main office.Continued ...
TCAPS board member resigns
Marjorie Rich has announced her resignation from the Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education.
Monday's Sports Scoreboard
Due to technical problems, Sunday's scoreboard was publsihed in the 12/02/13 paper.Continued ...
Cheers & Jeers: 12/02/2013
To Solar Up North Alliance program, a partnership between Cherryland Electric Cooperative and Traverse City Light and Power which allows customers to lease a solar panel for $470 with a $75 rebate, for winning the “Exemplary Project” award from the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association.Continued ...
Academy's 6-week electives are fun, educational
Brittany Wright lined up six bananas and hooked them up to her computer using a special circuit board and connector wires.Continued ...
Historical Photo of the Week: 12/02/2013
Can any readers identify the young woman in this photo?Continued ...
Wolves to switch leagues
The Traverse City Wolves will have a completely new set of opponents this season.Continued ...
Downtown parking permit costs may rise
Two separate projects that will both positively and negatively affect the city's parking fund will highlight city commissioners' meeting tonight.Continued ...
Letters to the Editor: 12/02/2013
Keeping downtown vibrant; Prevention is best.Continued ...
Coming together for the kids
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News From 100 Years Ago: 12/02/2013
Honor Couple in Hands of Sheriff — Sheriff Tucker of this county returned last night with Joseph Hunt and Mayme, wife of Frank Hunt of this village whom he had arrested in Grand Rapids upon a serious charge.Continued ...
Northern Notes: Decorate Interlochen Mitten Tree
The Holiday Mitten Tree is up at the Interlochen Public Library, 9700 Riley Road, and ready to be decorated with new mittens, scarves and hats.Continued ...
Service News: 12/02/2013
Air Force Airman Ben Kubesh graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.Continued ...
- Monday, November 25, 2013
Four arrested in Holiday Inn fight
Four accused would-be pugilists at downtown Traverse City's Holiday Inn may soon wish they found a better way to settle their differences.Continued ...
Snowfall expected through Thanksgiving
Commuters across northwest Michigan met another wintry slap in the face, one that likely will continue for several days.Continued ...
To the organizers of Operation Christmas Child, which has delivered simple shoeboxes filled with small gifts and toys to more than 100 million boys and girls in over 130 countries since 1993.Continued ...
Scientists predict steady Mich., Huron lake levels
Rickey McDowell added two sections to his dock that juts into the west arm of the Grand Traverse Bay last year because the water, reaching all-time lows, was just too shallow.Continued ...
Octogenarian is 'Mother of assertiveness'
These days Mary Sutherland is more likely to be identified as the mother of the area’s entrepreneurial “Sutherland boys” — Tim, Paul, Bob, Matt and Michael — than as the firebrand who marched on Washington for equal rights.Continued ...
Letters to the Editor: 11/25/2013
Left out accomplishments; See the bigger picture.Continued ...
News From 100 Years Ago: 11/25/2013
Traverse can Claim Title-Win over Cadillac cinches N. M. I. Championship. Final score was 21 to 19.Continued ...
Athena nominees sought
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Northern Notes: Carrier goes 'above and beyond'
Traverse City resident thanks Record-Eagle carrier for his help.Continued ...
- Girls Basketball: St. Francis wins season opener (with video)