Former Lafromboise Communications president and publisher Dennis Waller has been retained to consult at The Chronicle and its newly-formed parent company CT Publishing during the ongoing transition.
Waller, 77, will fill a temporary consulting role with the newspaper and its sister publications, the Nisqually Valley News in Yelm and The Reflector in Battle Ground.
For 20 years — from 1992 to 2012 — Waller held the top executive role at Lafromboise Communications, which last week sold its newspapers to Lewis County residents Chad and Coralee Taylor.
“I believe in the hardworking people of Lewis County,” Waller said. “I think they deserve a good life and good coverage from a good newspaper.”
Editor-in-Chief Eric Schwartz will work with Waller to guide the newsrooms in the months after the recent acquisition.
Waller said he will be surveying the company, looking at the organizational charts and making sure the direction of the paper is positive and beneficial to the community.
“That means progressive, but common sense and with people first,” he said.
Waller, born into a newspaper family, spent his entire career working at community newspapers, most often as an executive. He’s a former president of the board for the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Publishers Association and once served as interim director of the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce. He’s also an author.
Under his guidance and leadership, The Chronicle won its first C.B. Blethen Awards for Distinguished Reporting, which are among the highest honors for a newspaper of its size. The newspaper has won many more in the years since.
During his time as publisher and president, The Chronicle was also nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for the staff’s coverage of the devastating flooding of December 2007.
Now retired and living in Minnesota with his wife, Glynn, Waller said his return is based in part on his desire to see The Chronicle thrive.
His decision to become involved came at the request of the Taylors, who have long worked in media, marketing and advertising but have up until now not been directly involved in journalism.
“Being new to the news industry we were excited to have the opportunity to learn from Denny’s two decades of experience,” the Taylors wrote in a statement.
Waller said he has known the Taylors for 20 years and he believes they are well-suited to publish high-quality newspapers.
“We competed in some areas over the years, but I have always had respect for Chad and the Taylors,” Waller said. “Their enthusiasm is admirable.”