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New reader at the helm

MDH's general manager Wall draws on deep media experience

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 8:00 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 1:27 p.m. CDT

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Robert Wall reads the Morris Daily Herald.

Usually he leafs through the pages of the printed newspaper. At times, he will use the MDH's website to stay informed about what is going on in the community. He even receives text alerts about the most significant of breaking news stories.

And, while Wall has not been reading the MDH for very long, he says that he likes what he has seen so far.

Which is good, because not only does Wall know a lot about local newspapers, but as the new general manager of the Morris media outlet, what he believes carries weight.

"It is clearly evident the Morris Daily Herald already knows that its strength lies in presenting the local news," said Wall, who began in his new position with the MDH on Nov. 5. "I would suggest it is still true in community journalism that our readers need to be informed of what is going on in the city hall and in their education boardroom, as well as their local school basketball court and courthouse."

"My job," Wall continued, "isn't to come here and change the way things are done; my job is simply to help make the Morris Herald even better at what it already does very well — inform, entertain and enlighten. In reading the Morris Daily Herald, I know that we know Grundy County better than anyone and our team of reporters can tell the local story better than anyone else."

Drawing from a background with larger media outlets, Wall is well prepared to call upon ideas with a track record of success in order to enhance what the Morris Daily Herald is able to offer to its customers, especially its business customers.

"I come at this from a recent history of working with advertising clients to provide them the best solutions to help them thrive in a soft economy," Wall said. "My goal is to draw on this experience to assist the MDH team in finding new and better ways to assist local clients in finding the marketing solutions that are right for them."

For the past year and a half, Wall has been doing just that for clients in the southern part of Illinois. Working for Gatehouse Media, he served as the publisher of what he calls two "extremely local" newspapers in Southern Illinois — the Daily Republican in Marion and the Benton Evening News in Benton. Simultaneously, he was the ad director for 27 newspapers in the region.

"I was a sales leader and sales trainer with a staff of 31 ad reps in nine different offices," Wall explains. "What we strive to achieve is outrageous customer service. The true multi-media account executive takes a consultative approach and practices solutions-based selling. We strive to determine our advertising partner's needs and then propose marketing solutions to meet their needs."

Wall's experience with that procedure fits right into the Shaw Media promise of providing marketing solutions for all of its business partners.

"My larger-paper experience offers me the ability to appreciate the loyal readers and great advertising partners that are an integral part of our newspaper and the very essence of community newspapers," Wall said.

"At the same time, I am very proud of the fact we are a true multi-media company, offering not only print, but a digital presence on the web and a version optimized for smartphones and for tablets."

Prior to his position with Gatehouse, Wall worked for Sun Times Media in various capacities, including as publisher/vice president of advertising for four daily newspapers, including the Herald News, and 12 weekly publications.

He has also worked as a regional manager for Newspaper Services of America.

Wall holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Bradley University and has done graduate work in public relations at Northern Illinois University.

Bob currently lives in Yorkville with his wife, Kathy.

"While I am new to the Morris Daily Herald, I am not new to Morris," said Wall. "We live just up the road and have been shopping in downtown Morris for years and consider it a unique experience. I look forward to meeting and working with the people of Grundy County."

"In fact," he continued, "the first questions I asked our team when I arrived was 'What would you like me to change about the Morris Daily Herald?' and "What do you not want me to change?' I would ask our readers the same questions. Please let me know via email."

Wall can be emailed at bwall@morrisdailyherald.com.

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