Daily newspapers in Grand Haven and Holland soon will have new publishers.
Paul Bedient, the Grand Haven Tribune’s advertising director for 12 years, was named earlier this month to succeed Lee Carter as publisher beginning Jan. 1. Carter, who’s been the Tribune publisher since 1996, is leaving in December to become publisher of sister publication Sandusky Register in Sandusky, Ohio, where he served as circulation director before coming to Grand Haven. Both newspapers are owned by Sandusky Newspapers Inc.
In Holland, Michael Hengel was named publisher of The Holland Sentinel. He succeeds Ron Wallace, who resigned in August after five years as publisher.
Hengel, a 25-year veteran of the industry who started his career as a reporter, has served as publisher of the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway, Ark., since 1994, The Sentinel reported in its Oct. 17 edition. The Sentinel, a seven-day morning publication with a circulation of about 19,000, and the Democrat are both owned by Augusta, Ga.-based Morris Communications Corp.
“It’s an honor for me to have this opportunity to serve as publisher of The Sentinel,” Hengel told the newspaper. “My family and I are looking forward to moving to Holland and becoming part of this wonderful community.”
In Grand Haven, Bedient hopes to “take it up another notch” when he assumes the helm at the Tribune.
“I’m glad they have the confidence in my abilities and I’m excited to improve upon the product and take it up a notch,” Bedient said. “What I want to do is take what we have now and improve on a good community newspaper.”
The Grand Haven Tribune, a six-day-a-week daily, has a circulation of 11,100 in northwestern Ottawa County. The newspaper has a workforce of 50 full- and part-time employees.
Bedient comes from a newspaper family and has spent his career in ad sales. The Grand Haven position is the first time he will serve as a publisher. He came to Grand Haven in 1989, after his father sold the family newspaper in Albion and Marshall a year earlier.
He’s been in the industry, he said, “since I was born.”
“I was born and raised into it,” Bedient said.
Bedient’s immediate priority is recruiting a new advertising director. He plans to spend the time between now and Jan. 1 working with Carter on a smooth transition.
“It’s going to take a while to get used to the whole thing,” he said.