Beau Ravellette, Ravellette Publications
Beau Ravellette, Ravellette Publications

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LeeAnne Dufek, Hamlin Co. Publishing
LeeAnne Dufek, Hamlin Co. Publishing

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Letitia Lister, Black Hills Pioneer
Letitia Lister, Black Hills Pioneer

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Beau Ravellette, Ravellette Publications
Beau Ravellette, Ravellette Publications

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Timber Lake publisher elected 

to lead state's newspaper association


Robert Slocum, co-publisher
of the Timber Lake Topic, was
elected the 135th president
of the South Dakota
Newspaper Association
during the association’s
annual meeting Oct. 15.


The membership meeting
was held during the
association’s 138th
convention at Deadwood.

Slocum has worked in
community newspapers for 17 years in both North Dakota and South Dakota. He became owner/publisher of the Isabel Dakotan in 2011. In 2016, Slocum merged his operation with Timber Lake Topic publisher Kathy Nelson and formed TLI Publishing, Inc. He and his wife Jerica have two children.


"Our calling to keep journalism alive in South Dakota communities remains as vital as ever,” Slocum said. “It’s incredibly gratifying to know that most South Dakotans agree, as our most recent data suggests that 83% of adults in our state patronize print and digital newspapers for hyperlocal news and information." 


"We will continue to bolster awareness for our mission, and that includes educating the public and our elected officials about the importance of keeping legal notices in newspapers. It is my privilege to serve our association in this role, and to follow in the footsteps of my co-publisher Kathy, who served as SDNA president in 1995-96."


Also elected to the SDNA Board of Directors were: first vice president Garrick Moritz of the Garretson Gazette; second vice president Kristi Hine of the Wessington Springs True Dakotan; third vice president Cory Myers of the Argus Leader at Sioux Falls; director LeeAnne Dufek of Hamlin County Publishing at Castlewood; director Billy McMacken of the Brookings Register; and immediate past president Beau Ravellette of Ravellette Publications, Philip. 


South Dakota Newspaper Association, founded in 1882 and based in Brookings, represents the state's 115 weekly and daily newspapers.

Robert Slocum.jpg

Convention brings Dakotans together

Thank you to everyone who
attended the SDNA/NDNA
convention last week at
Deadwood. It was a great
get-together and even two feet
of snow just prior to the
meeting did not seem to deter
anyone from wanting to gather
and learn, enjoy and re-connect
with colleagues and friends.


This was the fifth joint
convention of the two states
(held every other year). We enjoyed excellent programs and speakers who were inspiring and educational. Plus, we honored some special friends and celebrated the best among newspapers in both Dakotas.


The results of the "Best of Dakotas" general excellence contest were announced during the convention banquet. The winners were:


  • Weeklies Under 900 Circulation – Tea (S.D.) Weekly

  • Weeklies 901 – 1,300 Circulation – Hillsboro (N.D.) Banner

  • Weeklies 1,301 and Over Circulation — Mobridge (S.D.) Tribune

  • Dailies Under 7,000 Circulation — The Jamestown (N.D.) Sun

  • Dailies 7,001 and Over Circulation —The Bismarck (N.D.) Tribune


So, with North Dakota newspapers capturing three of the five circulation categories, the traveling Best of Dakotas trophy is back in North Dakota (for now). 


Two SDNA Awards for Distinguished Service were presented. Lyle Olson, who retired in June as director of the SDSU School of Communication and Journalism, was recognized for his many years of service and leadership in journalism education. Tim Waltner, retired publisher of the Freeman Courier, was recognized for his years as chair of the SDNA First Amendment Committee. Tim has served as chair of the committee for most of its 20 years of existence. He is stepping down now as chair and Mark Watson, managing editor at the Black Hills Pioneer at Spearfish, is assuming the committee leadership role.


The Distinguished Service Award for Tim was presented as a surprise to him during the concluding banquet. Tim provided some written remarks afterward, reflecting on the work of the committee and his time as chair.

Finally, we were able to properly recognize and honor longtime publishers and editors Charley and Norma Najacht for their induction into the South Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame. The Najachts were selected in 2019, but an induction ceremony was not possible until now. They were honored during the banquet with current and past employees as well as several family members and friends in attendance.


South Dakota Public Notices

All South Dakota newspapers have cooperated to host a website listing all government public notices previously published in newspapers across the state. The searchable public notices website is provided to the public by South Dakota newspapers at no cost to state and local governments.


Free online training available for SDNA members

   Through a partnership with the Iowa Newspaper Association, we are pleased to offer all SDNA members the opportunity to participate in the Online Media Campus webinars and training sessions for FREE (special code required) during 2021!  The offer is also good for all archived webinars on the Online Media Campus website. Contact SDNA for special code required to sign-up today.