Veteran newspaper executive Bill Kunerth will be the next president and publisher of Emerald Media Group, the Emerald’s board of directors announced Monday. He will begin July 1.
EMG board chairman Ben Schorzman said Kunerth is someone who can be the face of the Emerald, mentor future students, and bring a wealth of knowledge from the newspaper industry.
Kunerth has worked as the publisher for newspapers in California, Washington, Idaho and Alaska, which had circulation of up to 15,000 daily copies.
“He has more than 27 years of publisher experience. He brings a deep understanding of the business and he has a passion for journalism that really stands out,” Schorzman said.
Kunerth wanted to work in journalism since he was a child because his father had taught journalism at multiple universities and advised student newspapers throughout his career. Kunerth said his father was one of his greatest mentors growing up, always living up to his values of integrity and ethics.
Kunerth has worked in various roles at newspapers around the country and has experience with other student-run newspapers at college campuses including Central Washington University, Idaho State University and the University of Alaska.
“There is something special about student-run newspapers: The opportunity to take chances and innovate,” said Kunerth. “In today’s media age, being an independent voice is something that has been lost.”
Kunerth said in a presentation to the staff of EMG that the next publisher’s role will be to protect independent student journalism.
“I think the journalism being produced at Emerald Media Group is some of the best in the community. The fact that its autonomous, student-run and independent, it’s something that should be respected,” he said.
Schorzman echoed Kunerth’s sentiment, saying the Emerald is in a critical time, when media outlets are being bought up or folding altogether, and he said Kunerth understands the necessity to remain independent.
One way he said he plans to preserve the Emerald is by bringing in innovative ideas to increase profit from online and mobile platforms. He wants to maintain a diverse revenue stream and include new features in several EMG products.
The board chose Kunerth for the job particularly because he has a history of increasing revenue at news outlets.
“One part of his professional experience has been in fundraising. He was involved in a fundraising campaign in Alaska that raised over $660,000,” said Schorzman. “He has a lot of big-time experience that we were hoping to capitalize on.”
Kunerth said one of his highest priorities is quality journalism. Throughout his interview process, Kunerth said he wants to provide the resources and support to continue the Emerald Media Group’s legacy.
His mantra to various newspaper staffs in the past has always been, “The better the newspaper, the better the community.” He said the responsibility of a news outlet is to provide its readership with the awareness of issues and allow everyone to understand the state of the greater community.
“I’m passionate and committed to good journalism. Forthright honest reporting of the issues can bring out robust dialogue that provides the opportunity for a community to examine the issues.”
He said his vision for EMG is to uphold its reputation: “a relevant, independent voice for the University of Oregon.”