Tom Lanctot named newspaper's publisher

Jim Kelly spent decade at the helm

Tom Lanctot will become publisher of the Hood River News on Sept. 17 according to Eagle Newspapers president Dick Nafsinger.

Jim Kelly, who has published the News since 1991, has accepted a position as general manager of NewsNet media in the communications department at Brigham Young University.

Lanctot brings a 30-year career in community journalism from his hometown of Sunnyside, Wash. He has worked with Eagle Newspapers since 1986 when he sold his newspaper to the corporation.

Effective Oct. 1 he will also become executive vice-president of Eagle following the retirement of Nafsinger. Jim Smith, publisher of the Prineville Central Oregonian, will be the new president of the company. Tim Graff, current general manager, will be the publisher of the Sunnyside Daily Sun News.

Nafsinger said, "Hood River is losing a fine community newspaper publisher, but is extremely fortunate to gain another. Jim Kelly has done an outstanding job in leading the Hood River News for the past 10 years. The newspaper's national reputation for excellence has grown and it has maintained and enhanced its strong role in helping improve the Hood River community." At the same time, Nafsinger said, "I couldn't be more pleased that someone of Tom Lanctot's caliber is taking over for Jim. As publisher of the Daily Sun News in Sunnyside, Tom has a long record of community involvement while publishing a fine newspaper. He and wife Bonnie will be wonderful additions to the Hood River community."

Reflecting on his journalism career, Lanctot said, "My involvement in the community has been a huge benefit and has offered the most enjoyment and satisfaction. "So often the newspaper is the glue that holds the community together. In the little things that we do we can make a difference in the lives of people. From schools and hospitals to service clubs and Little League we've been involved in our community every step of the way."

Lanctot and his wife Bonnie have two children, a son Jeff who works for an Internet advertising company in Seattle, and is married to, Lisa, who teaches fifth grade in Edmonds, Wash.; and a daughter, Marci, who teaches also teaches fifth grade, in Mukilteo, Wash.

"I grew up in Sunnyside and everybody knows who I am," Lanctot said. "In a way I'm kind of a community historian since there are only two or three other downtown business people that have been in business in the community longer than I have. Bonnie and I are ready for the move and our kids are excited."

He sits on the board of directors of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and has been on the Eagle Newspapers board of directors since 1989. In Sunnyside he has served on boards of the chamber of commerce, Lower Valley Credit Union, Sunnyside Community Hospital, Sunnyside Hospital Foundation, and Sunnyside, Inc., the local economic development board. For decades he has been involved in school programs including DECCA and high school sports. "When we had the opportunity to sell to Eagle Newspapers in 1986 we couldn't have picked a better situation for my community and my family," Lanctot said. "Eagle has the philosophy that publishers run their properties and I have always enjoyed the autonomy associated with that assignment. "There is no corporate directive for advertising or editorial policy. My role on the Eagle board working with other publishers has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career."

Kelly began his Eagle Newspapers career as general manager of the Hood River News in 1980. He published the Newberg Graphic from 1986 through 1991 when he returned to Hood River as publisher. He has served as president of the Oregon Newspaper Publisher Association and the Hood River Library Foundation and is in his second three-year term on the board of directors of the National Newspaper Association. He has been on the Eagle Newspapers board of directors since 1989. "Our philosophy is to work hard and to play hard," Kelly said. "We came to Hood River as a young couple and what a pleasure it has been over the past two decades to raise our four children here. "Helping organize volunteers to renovate and expand our library into a jewel for the community has been one of the joys of working at the newspaper. "The Hood River News is respected around the nation for quality journalism and photography. It is so pleasing to have been a part of the team that brings life to the stories of Hood River Valley residents." Kelly's wife, Donna, will practice law in Utah.

In his new duties as the BYU NewsNet general manager Kelly will oversee the Daily University newspaper, KBYU television and radio broadcast stations, and campus Internet news gathering operations. The university has an enrollment of 29,000 and the communications department has 1,200 students.

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